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Abstract

The study examines the effect of agricultural policy reforms on income variability of Swiss farmers. The observed heterogeneity in income risks across farms and time is explained with farm and regional characteristics. FADN data are used to construct coefficients of variation of total household income and gross revenues at farm-level over the period 1992-2009. Applying linear mixed effect models the effects of off-farm income, direct payments, farm size, specialisation and liquidity on gross revenue and household income variability in three different production regions are measured. The switch from market-based support to direct payments decreased the variability of farm revenues and household income. Off-farm income has a positive and farm size a negative effect on revenue risk. The opposite is true for household income risk. Specialisation increases revenue and household income risk. Direct payments serve as insurance for farmers and make them more willing to take risk from agricultural production.

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