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Dyer, Graham (1995) Farm size and productivity in Egyptian agriculture : An analysis of agrarian structure and technical change. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The inverse relationship between farm size and productivity is widely accepted as a "stylised fact" of agriculture in developing countries, a generalised phenomenon observed in widely differing agro-climatic conditions and agrarian structures. This thesis uses primary fieldwork data to examine the factors which give rise to such a relationship, and the impact of economic and technological change on the inverse relationship in the context of Egyptian agriculture. The significance of the inverse relationship as a crucial developmental issue cannot be overemphasised. The inverse relationship constitutes a major component of the economic rationale for redistributive land reform, and has obvious importance for policy issues concerning land reorganization. Part one critically discusses the inverse relationship debate, with particular emphasis on India, as an essential preliminary analysis to the examination of the Egyptian situation. The Indian literature on the inverse relationship is by far the most extensive, and it is within this debate that most of the analytical approaches to the inverse relationship have originated. The second, core part of the thesis uses fieldwork data from rural Egypt (an extensive 18-village survey conducted by the ILO in 1976 and the author's own intensive 2-village survey conducted in 1990) to support a new political economy approach to understanding the factors behind the inverse relationship and to examine how the inverse relationship breaks down in the dynamic context. We show that in the static context, the inverse relationship arises from the economic compulsions to which poor peasants are subject within a relatively backward agriculture. Redistribution of land on the basis of the inverse relationship argument therefore, will only deepen and perpetuate these conditions. Furthermore, in the dynamic context of technological change, the inverse relationship will disappear. The inverse relationship argument for redistributive land reform no longer has any rationale in the context of changing production conditions.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:04

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