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This paper reviews various theories of the peasant economy. It is shown that the theories have differences as well as similarities. The formalist; school, profit maximization and utility maximizing peasant theories take efficiency as a central issue in their analysis. In contrast to the profit maximizing assumption, risk averses; peasant theory, formalist theory and some of the political economy theories argued that the aim of peasant production is to avoid risk in the production of household food requirements and not to maximize profits by taking decisions involving high levels of risk. Others argued that profit is alien to peasant producers. Still others argued that risk aversion behavior does not preclude profit maximization behavior. No theory can be said to fully explain all aspects of peasant production; indeed for the present, all of the theories may have relevance in explaining different aspects of the peasant economy


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