This paper presents an empirical methodology for studying the reallocation of agricultural labour across sectors from micro data. Whereas different approaches have been employed in the literature to better understand the mobility of labour, looking at the determinants to exit farm employment and enter off-farm activities, the initial decision of individuals to work in agriculture, as opposed to other sectors, has often been neglected. The proposed methodology controls for the selectivity bias, which may arise in the presence of a non-random sample of the population, in this context those in agricultural employment, which would lead to biased and inconsistent estimates. A 3-step multivariate probit with two selection and one outcome equations constitutes the selected empirical approach to explore the determinants of farm labour to exit agriculture and switch occupational sector. The model can be used to take into account the different market and production structures across European member states on the allocation of agricultural labour and its adjustments.
Barbara Tocco, Alastair Bailey and Sophia Davidova are researchers at the University of Kent, School of Economics (UNIKENT).