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Many government regulations and programs operate on the basis of tiering, that is, the regulatory conditions change at certain points. Typically, regulatory thresholds arc designed to restrict benefits or to provide an exemption to a particular class of recipients. It is hypothesised, however, that regulatory thresholds may impede certain scales of business activity, constrain structural adjustment and productivity improvement and, hence, influence output. The total number of tiered regulatory systems that impact on small agribusiness firms is unknown. Several such systems arc, however, readily identifiable and some of these arc detailed in this paper. While the marginal costs of crossing some thresholds appear substantial the extent of their influence on the behaviour of small agribusincsses will likely be constrained by the objectives, skills and strategies of individual managers. This paper comprises a preliminary exploration of the extent and influence of regulatory tiering in the agribusiness sector in Australia.


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