The objective of the paper is to investigate whether Swiss farms specialised in dairy (the prevailing production of the country), which are small in international standards, would have a survival potential if they had to compete more directly with EU farms. More specifically, we investigate whether Swiss dairy farms would be able to compete with their French counterparts (located in mountainous areas, but larger than Swiss ones) in a future made of increased globalisation and reduced borders. For this we evaluate which country, during the period 1990-2004, would have been more able to use efficiently a common hypothetical technology, and would have had a more productive (own) technology. Efficiency scores and technology ratios are calculated using the concept of metafrontier and the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) approach. Results indicate that Swiss farms would have been slightly less efficient on average with respect to the common frontier, and that they had a less productive technology, the productivity gap with France being however only 5 percent. Regression results suggest that the efficiency differential and the productivity gap between Swiss farms and French farms were mainly due to larger Swiss farms with lower labour per livestock unit and higher proportion of family labour.


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