This paper investigates the impacts of high interest rates for borrowed capital and credit restrictions on the structural development of four European regions. The method used is the model AgriPoliS which is a spatial-dynamic agent-based model. It is able to provide aggregated results at the regional level, but very individual results as well by considering farms as independent entities. Farms can choose between different investment options during the simulation. Several scenarios with different interest rates for borrowed capital on the one hand as well as with different levels of credit restrictions on the other hand are tested and compared. Results show that higher interest rates have less impact on declining production branches than on expanding ones. If they have the possibility farms invest in the most profitable production branch which relative profitability might have changed with high interest rates. Credit restrictions lead farms to choose smaller and cheaper investments than expensive and large ones. Results also show that income losses in both cases due to under-investment compared to the reference situation are partially compensated by lower rental prices. The impacts on structural change also differ depending on the region and the initial situation. In summary, credit subsidies or imperfections on credit markets might have indirect impacts on the type of dominant investment and therefore on the whole regional agricultural sector as well.
Christoph Sahrbacher, Amanda Sahrbacher and Arlette Ostermeyer are researchers at Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO) in Halle, Germany.