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Paperback | $30.00 Short | £22.95 | ISBN: 9780262511858 | 266 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 9 illus.| August 2004

The Nature of the Farm

Contracts, Risk, and Organization in Agriculture

About the Authors

Douglas W. Allen is Endowed University Professor in the Department of Economics at Simon Fraser University.

Dean Lueck is Cardon Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Arizona.


“A coherent and largely persuasive case for...the transaction cost approach to farm organization over the principal-agent paradigm.”—Journal of Economics


The Nature of the Farm is a superb application of the theory of incentives to the organizational features of agriculture, including the still-popular practice of sharecropping. Allen and Lueck measure their theories of sharecropping against the evidence more carefully and in more detail than previous authors. In so doing, they demonstrate persuasively that contractual arrangements between farmers and landowners are explained not by the traditional theory of risk-sharing but purely by incentives and enforcement considerations. This is an important contribution to agricultural economics and to the economics of organizations.”
Ralph A. Winter, Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration, University of British Columbia
“This book is a perfect example of good economics in which theory and empirical analysis mutually benefit each other and both are grounded in a deep understanding of real practices and institutions. The work is highly original and the scholarship sound.”
Benito Arrunada, Professor of Business Organization, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona