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Impact of off-farm labor supply on food expenditures of the farm household
- Chang, Hung-Hao, Mishra, Ashok
- Food policy 2008 v.33 no.6 pp. 657-664
- labor, off-farm employment, households, food purchasing, household surveys, farm families, farmers, spouses, decision making, household income, household expenditure, United States
- Farm households diversify their income sources by working off the farm. This is a risk management strategy that is used by farm households in both developed and developing countries. Income diversification via off-farm work is associated with higher incomes and food consumption. However, little is known about the association between off-farm work and farm household food expenditures. In an effort to bridge this gap, this study attempts to assess the impact of off-farm work decisions by the operator and/or the spouse on the food expenditures of the farm household. Using a nationwide farm household survey in the United States and new econometric method, we find that the decisions of the operator and/or the spouse to work off the farm are significantly interrelated (29%). However, these two decisions affect food expenditures in different ways. The operator's off-farm work decision is positively related to food expenditures, while the spouse's decision is negatively associated with expenditures on food by the farm household.