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The Spanish beef sector in the 1990s: impact of the BSE crisis on efficiency and profitability

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The beef sector has undergone a series of changes as a result of successive food scares and agricultural policy reforms. The purpose of the paper is to analyse technical efficiency and profitability in Spanish livestock enterprises during the 1990s, focusing on the possible impact of the BSE crisis and the 1992 CAP reform on each of these variables. The main findings reveal the existence of technical inefficiency during the sample period. Some factors have a positive impact, others a negative impact, on efficiency. As far as the effects of CAP reform and the BSE crisis are concerned, the results show the ineffectiveness of agricultural policy regulation to promote efficiency in the sector and the improvement in the efficiency as a consequence of the BSE crisis. The profitability analysis reveals the importance of direct subsidies, however. In their absence, a large percentage of holdings is unable to remunerate either own or rented factors. Analysis shows, therefore, that there are two counteracting effects from subsidies. On the one hand, they form a major part of the resources of livestock farmers, allowing them to meet input costs and preventing land abandonment. On the other hand, they have a significant negative impact on the level of technical efficiency estimated.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Departamento de Economía y Ciencias Sociales Agrarias Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos Universidad Politécnica de Madrid Ciudad Universitaria s/n, 28040 Madrid Spain

Publication date: 01 March 2005

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