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Using a unique farm-level panel data set derived from three U.S. Agricultural Censuses, we estimate a Cox proportional hazard model to examine the effect of direct government payments on the survival of farm businesses, paying particular attention to the differential effect of payments across farm size categories. For identification the study exploits variation in payments resulting from historical differences in 'base acreage' in otherwise similar farms. We find an increase in government payments has a small but statistically significant positive effect on the rate of farm survival, and the magnitude of this effect increases with farm size.


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