Understanding Peasant Agriculture: An Integrated Land-Use Model for the Punjab

Astroth, Joseph H., Jr.

     The goal of this study is to introduce and empirically test the effectiveness of a new and viable integrated model of peasant agricultural land use. This new model is based on maximum-likelihood (sometimes referred to as entropy maximization) principles. A maximum-likelihood model of peasant agricultural land use results in a mixture of the traditional deterministic and probability approaches. It mixes a deterministic representation of the agroeconomic environment with a probabilistic approach to the peasant farmer's agricultural land-use decision-making behavior. The result is a model grounded both upon sound economic principles and on recognition of the behavioral component in the agricultural land-use decision-making process by peasant farmers."
     The study's organization "revolves around the general approach to constructing and testing a mathematical model"; thus, after "a review of the problems and potentialities associated with the two traditional approaches to modeling peasant agricultural land use, the economic approach and the behavioral approach," the study sets forth "two hypotheses: first, that . . . the most appropriate manner in which to construct an accurate model of peasant agricultural land use is through an integrated approach; second, that an integrated approach can be embodied within a maximum likelihood methodology. This second hypothesis is developed further . . . by the use of several illustrative examples and a discussion concerning the principles that characterize a maximum-likelihood land-use model. . . . The definitions and assumptions embodied within a maximum-likelihood agricultural land-use model are described . . . [and] also compared to the definitions and assumptions of other mathematical models, in particular, the von Th