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Farm Household Income

Issues and Policy Responses

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In most OECD countries, farm household incomes figure prominently among the wide and growing range of concerns described as motivating policy interventions in agriculture. The first part of this report provides an overview of the income situation of farm households and examines the influence of agricultural and of tax and social security policies on them. The second part investigates more specifically how efficient some of the most commonly used policy interventions are at transferring income to farm households.

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Farm Household Income Issues in OECD Countries

In recent years, several OECD studies have looked at income issues in the agricultural sector. This synthesis combines and updates material from recently published reports to produce a comprehensive study of farm household income issues in OECD countries. The background is one of significant government intervention in the agricultural sectors of many OECD countries that has led to high levels of support and protection, often justified in terms of a need to support the incomes of farmers and their families. This synthesis first presents income objectives in OECD countries and discusses measurement problems. Without attempting cross-country comparisons, it then reviews the income situation of farm households in OECD countries for which data are available, and examines the role which agricultural policies, whatever their objectives, have played in determining the observed outcomes. Finally, policy solutions are proposed that would improve farm household income more effectively and equitably.

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