There is very little empirical evidence supporting the claims that family farming is a ‘superior’ form of organisation for agricultural production. This paper investigates the comparative output effects of family labour in several EU Member States. No positive output effects can be discerned when farms are characterised by a low level of technical efficiency. In the case of efficient farms, the incremental effects of family labour are characterised by a number of thresholds. The paper only finds limited support for the claimed positive output effects of family farming and these only materialise after a considerable family involvement is committed.