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Research Series Issue 34: Farm size and productivity - Lessons from recent literature
January 2019

This paper considers the relationship between farm size and productivity patterns across countries and within countries. Across countries, there is a weak but positive relationship between farm size and yield. A much stronger positive relationship holds for agricultural output per unit of labour, which is closely correlated with farm size across countries.

The inverse farm size-productivity relationship holds true within countries. However, even within countries, there is typically a strong positive relationship between farm size and labour productivity.

Considering that hundreds of millions of poor people will remain in smallholder agriculture for decades to come, policy-makers need to consider whether  current strategies offer a particularly valuable way to generate agricultural development.



Douglas Gollin (Oxford University)




Gollin, D. 2019. “Farm Size and Productivity: Lessons from Recent Literature.” IFAD Research Series 34. Rome: IFAD