The Spatial Patterns of Dairy Farming In Molise

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The greater market orientation of European dairy production, caused by the end of quota regime, is likely to have consequences on less favoured areas, where breeding of dairy cattle plays both a crucial socio-economic and environmental role. Within this new framework, endogenous factors determining spatial reorganisation of the sector are becoming of increasing relevance. Based on these considerations, this study analyses the impact of the three broader classes of location determinants suggested by economic theory - factor endowment, market potential, and spatial agglomeration externalities - on the spatial pattern of milk production in Molise, a rural region in the south of Italy. Milk production is measured in term of dairy cows per hectare. The truncated distribution of this variable and its high degree of spatial autocorrelation prompted us to apply a Spatial Autoregressive Tobit model. Estimation results reveal that all three categories have a positive effect on the location of milk production, even if the influence of factor endowment (intended as forage area), and market potential (measured in term of proximity of dairy companies) is quite limited. On the contrary, the impact of spatial externalities (related variety) on the regional localisation of milk production is strongly significant. These results cast some doubts on the current measures of intervention and might suggest a new policy framework both at firm and spatial level

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