Working Paper No. 1181

Agricultural Trade Reform, Reallocation and Technical Change: Evidence from the Canadian Prairies

Published: September 26, 2017Pages: 35Keywords: Agricultural Trade Liberalization; Export Subsidy; Technical Change; Farm Size; Firm HeterogeneityJEL-codes: F14; O13; Q16; Q17; Q18

Agricultural Trade Reform, Reallocation and Technical Change: Evidence from the Canadian Prairies Mark Brown, Shon Ferguson and Crina Viju


We decompose the impact of trade reform on technology adoption and land use to study how aggregate changes were driven by reallocation versus within-farm adaptation. Using detailed census data covering over 30,000 farms in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Canada we find a range of new results.

We find that the reform-induced shift from producing low-value to high-value crops for export, the adoption of new seeding technologies and reduction in summerfallow observed at the aggregate level between 1991 and 2001 were driven mainly by the within-farm effect. In the longer run, however, reallocation of land from shrinking and exiting farms to growing and new farms explains more than half of the aggregate changes in technology adoption and land use between 1991 and 2011.

Shon Ferguson

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Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union in a Changing World Order

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This book explores how the European Union responds to the ongoing challenges to the liberal international order. These challenges arise both within the EU itself and beyond its borders, and put into question the values of free trade and liberal democracy. 

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