Interrelated labor decisions of farm couples: a censored response analysis of off-farm work

Hild-Marte Bjørnsen and Erik Biørn

Agricultural Economics, Volume 41, Issue 6, pages 595–610, November 2010  


Farm couples' labor market responses are partly the discrete choice of entering the off-farm labor market and partly the continuous choice of off-farm working hours, given entry. Such a setting is interesting when examining the increasing occurrence of multiple job-holdings among farmers in Western economies. Most existing analyses of off-farm labor supply only model the decisions of the farmer, not the joint decisions of the farm couple. This article presents a framework for handling such interrelated discrete/continuous choices, involving also farm production and household consumption. The derived two-equation sub-model for husband/wife's censored labor responses is estimated from a 10-year Norwegian panel data for 342 farms. The results agree to some extent with earlier studies, but are more informative because of the longer panels—which allows a more extensive examination of latent heterogeneity and behavioral persistence—because it provides cross-effects in the spouses' labor supplies. The results show some interesting differences between how the independent variables influence the labor supply of operator and spouse. This is most evident for the cross-effects of education, children, and wage rate. Overall, the results strongly support applying a panel-censoring model that accounts for latent heterogeneity in this context.


Published Nov. 23, 2010 6:19 PM