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The question of farm size has long been a concern in the agricultural economics literature. The observation of a long-lasting persistence of so-called small farms drew the attention of numerous researchers. The size of farms is often approximated by the farm area in hectares or the added value and gross margin. We propose to investigate the opportunity to use labour (family labour and hired, permanent and seasonal, wage labour) as an entry point for a typology of agricultural holdings, with an application on French data from the Census collected in 2000 and 2010. We show that two dynamics are at stake: an evolution towards off-farm labour for the smallest farms relying on family labour; a convergence towards a model based on hired wage labour for the largest family farms.


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