Over recent years there has been marked instability in incomes earned from farming. The instability, which affects the economy generally, is transmitted partly through the consumption spending of farmers. A conventional view of the short-run marginal propensity to consume of farmers, supported by some analyses of aggregate data, is that it is zero. It is argued that this view is implausible on theoretical grounds, that the analysis giving rise to this view used aggregate data which contained serious flaws, and that evidence from micro-studies and other macro level analyses present a more realistic assessment that the short-run mpc of farmers is not zero but likely to be lower than that of non-farmers. A non-zero mpc has implications for how the farm sector interacts with the rest of the economy and is incorporated in models of the economy.


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