Economics of Farm Households - 1 ECTS

Organised by Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS)

Mon 27 February 2023 until Fri 3 March 2023

Venue Leeuwenborch, building number 201

    Contact person (Content): Rico Ihle

    Contact person (Logistics): Marcella Haan

      Course Registration

        This short course provides an introduction to the economics of farm households for graduate and advanced undergraduate students at advanced MSc level. It emphasizes the interaction of the farm as a business entity and the family as a social entity, and the conflicts embedded within this interaction.

        Learning outcomes

        After completing this course participants will:

        • Understand how economic decisions are made within farm households
        • Be familiar with the relevant literature
        • Be prepared for conducting research on farm households


        This course consists of the following activities:

        • Lectures
        • Home-reading
        • Giving a presentation

        The course will take place from 10 October to 13 October, and be given in 4 two-hour-slots.

        Target group and assumed prior knowledge

        The target group of this course are PhD and MSc students and advanced undergraduate students (as well as interested post-docs or staff) who write their thesis/ do work in any of the social sciences and have an interest in the economics of farm households. Participants should have sound knowledge of advanced undergraduate-level price theory. Some knowledge of game theory and econometrics would be helpful.


        Participants will have to submit a final assignment for passing the course. The assignment will be completed during the last session of the course.

            Preliminary schedule
            Meeting Date Time Topic(s)
            1 27 February 14.00-16.00 hrs Introduction; household production; family decision making
            2 28 February 10.00-12.00 hrs Time allocation; labor supply and demand; human capital
            3 1 March 10.00-12.00 hrs Intergenerational relationships; farm succession
            4 2 March 10.00-12.00 hrs Presentations of assignments

            Suggested readings

            Meeting 1

            • Willis, Robert J. "What Have We Learned from the Economics of the Family?" The American Economic Review 77, no. 2 (1987): 68‐81.
            • Becker, Gary S. "A Theory of the Allocation of Time." The Economic Journal 75, no. 299 (1965): 493-517. 
            • Heckman, James J. "Introduction to a theory of the allocation of time by Gary Becker." Economic Journal, 125 (583) (2015), pp. 403‐409.
            • Becker, Gary S. "Altruism in the Family and Selfishness in the Market Place." Economica, 48, no. 189 (1981): 1-15. 
            • Lundberg, Shelly, and Robert A. Pollak. "Bargaining and Distribution in Marriage." The Journal of Economic Perspectives 10, no. 4 (1996): 139-58.

            Meeting 2

            • Gronau, Reuben. "Leisure, Home Production, and Work--the Theory of the Allocation of Time Revisited." Journal of Political Economy 85, no. 6 (1977): 1099-123.
            • Lopez, Ramon E. "Estimating labor supply and production decisions of self‐employed farm producers," European Economic Review 24, no. 1 (1984), Pages 61‐82.
            • LaFave, Daniel and Duncan Thomas. "Farms, Families, and Markets: New Evidence on Completeness of Markets in Agricultural Settings," Econometrica 84 (2016), pp. 1917‐1960.
            • Schultz, Theodore W. "Investment in Human Capital." The American Economic Review 51, no. 1 (1961), pp. 1‐17.
            • Becker Gary S. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis." Journal of Political Economy 70, no. 5, part 2 (1962), pp. 9‐49.

            Meeting 3

            • Bernheim, B. Douglas, Andrei Shleifer, and Lawrence H. Summers. "The Strategic Bequest Motive." Journal of Political Economy 93, no. 6 (1985): 1045‐076.
            • Lobley Matt. "Succession in the family farm business." Journal of Farm Management, 13 (2010), pp. 839‐852.
            • Kimhi, Ayal. "Differential Human Capital Investments and the Choice of Successor in Family Farms." American Journal of Agricultural Economics 77, no. 3 (1995): 719-24.
            • Kimhi, Ayal. "Intergenerational Succession in Small Family Businesses: Borrowing Constraints and Optimal Timing of Succession." Small Business Economics 9 (4), August 1997, 309-18.
            • Rech, Luisa Rhoden, Erlaine Binotto, Thais Cremon, and Thanawit Bunsit. "What are the Options for Farm Succession? Models for Farm Business Continuity."Journal of Rural Studies88 (2021): 272-78.

            Course fee

            • For WGS PhD candidates the course fee is 50 euro
            • For Wageningen MSc students the course is free, but a 50 euro no show fee is applicable

            Cancellation conditions:

            The participants can cancel their registration free of charge 1 month before the course starts. A cancellation fee of 100% applies if a participant cancels his/her registration less than 1 month prior to the start of the course.

            The organisers have the right to cancel the course no later than one month before the planned course start date in the case that the number of registrations does not reach the minimum.

            The participants will be notified of any changes at their e-mail addresses.