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Title:A Structural Equation Model of the Economic and Lifestyle Motives of Small-Scale Farmers in Illinois
Author(s):Schroeder, Emily Harper
Department / Program:Sociology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, General
Abstract:Using survey data from Illinois, this study examines the factors which contribute to small-scale farmers' economic and lifestyle motives for farming. A conceptual definition of "lifestyle" is translated into measures of motives for farming, which are then used in a structural equation model. The major hypothesis is that for small-scale farmers, farming is a form of consumption rather than production. This hypothesis is based on the theory that lifestyle is an expressive behavior aimed at obtaining reference group membership from which social status is derived. For small-scale farmers it is suggested that their farm activities represent an attempt to fulfill an image of themselves as "farmer", even though their occupational identity is with their nonfarm employment. Farm background and life cycle stage are hypothesized to be important determinants of both economic and lifestyle motives for farming.
Factor analyses are used to construct the measures of lifestyle and economic motives which are the dependent variables in the model. Two measures of lifestyle motivation are identified and described as (1) status enhancement, and (2) work role gratifications; two measures of economic motivation are also identified and described as (1) profit motives and (2) investment motives.
The results of the analysis contradict the hypothesis that economic motives detract from the lifestyle motives of small-scale farmers. Farming for this sample is both a means of production and consumption. The general conclusion of the analysis is that there is a mutually reinforcing relationship between small-scale farmers' economic and lifestyle motives, which may be a necessary condition for the persistence of these farms. A new policy perspective toward small-scale agriculture is recommended which would take into account the lifestyle dimensions of farming.
Issue Date:1984
Description:182 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1984.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8422149
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1984

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