This paper examines the determinants of exit from agriculture under the implementation of CAP payments in four selected EU countries (France, Hungary, Italy and Poland) in the period 2005-08. The study employs micro-data from the European Union Labour Force Survey and regional data from the Farm Accountancy Data Network. We differentiate among the different measures of farm payments, looking at the individual impact of Pillar 1 instruments, i.e. coupled and decoupled payments, and at those in Pillar 2, targeted at rural development. The main results suggest that total subsidies at the regional level are negatively associated with the out-farm migration of agricultural workers in the two New member states, Hungary and Poland, so that the CAP would seem to hinder the exit of labour from agriculture. Conversely, the non-significant results for the ‘old’ member states may be interpreted as the result of opposing effects of coupled payments and rural development support. The diverse impact of CAP on the likelihood of leaving agriculture in the four countries reflects the heterogeneity across European member states, due to different market and production structures, which does not allow a common and simple generalisation of the effect of the CAP on labour allocation.