One of the main objectives of the 2003 CAP reform was that to enhance farm competitiveness and make farmers able to catch market signals and adjust their production level and specialization accordingly. The aim of the paper is to evaluate the effects of decoupling in Italy COP sector comparing the estimated results of some structural and economic indicators of a sample of farms before and after the 2003 reform using data from the Italian Institute of Statistics and of the Italian Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN). The analysis shows an improvement of income in farms that kept COP production specialization through the years under study. At the same time, farms that opted for a different specialisation in the post reform period improved their economic performance. All this suggests that coupled support had become a constraint rather than an opportunity and that the 2003 reform, decoupling farm support from production, has contributed to a more efficient and market-oriented COP sector in Italy.


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