Do farmers really like farming? Indian farmers in transition

Bina Agarwal, Ankush Agrawal

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Few studies of agrarian transition examine what farmers themselves feel about farming. Are they cultivating out of choice or a lack of options? What distinguishes farmers who like farming from those who do not: their personal/household characteristics and endowments? The local ecology and regional economy? Or a mix of these and other factors? Understanding farmer satisfaction is important not only for assessing citizen wellbeing but also for agricultural productivity, since occupational satisfaction can affect a farmer’s incentive to invest and reveal production constraints. Using a unique all-India data-set which asked farmers, ‘Do you like farming?’ this paper provides answers and policy pointers, contributing a little-studied dimension to debates on the smallholder’s future and subjective wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOxford Development Studies
Early online date8 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Farmer satisfaction, agrarian transition, subjective wellbeing, production constraints, India

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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