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Structural Change of European Dairy Farms – A Cross-Regional Analysis


  • Andrea Zimmermann,

  • Thomas Heckelei

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    • Andrea Zimmermann is the contact author and both authors are with the Institute for Food and Resource Economics, University of Bonn, Nussallee 21, Bonn 53115, Germany. E-mail: for correspondence. The work was partially funded by the Directorate-General for Research of the EU-Commission in the context of the SEAMLESS Integrated Project, EU 6th Framework Programme, Contract No. 010036-2. The authors thank three anonymous referees and the editor for their very useful comments during the review process.


Previous analyses of dairy farm structural change focus on the variation over time in one or a small number of regions. We present an EU-15 cross-regional analysis of the development of dairy farm numbers in different size classes over the period 1995–2005. Our purpose is to measure the explanatory relevance and effect of key factors suggested in the theoretical and empirical literature on structural change. Apart from the unprecedented scope, the underlying Markov chain analysis also contributes by combining observed transitions in micro (farm level) data with macro (sector level) data on farm numbers. Results show widely significant impacts of most considered explanatory variables, but also reflect and illuminate the complexity of the underlying processes.

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