Changes in the structure of agriculture have led some to rethink the purpose and nature of farm support programs, yet taxpayers are often left unheard in this debate. This paper determines how people would vote on particular farm policies and identifies the determinants of support/opposition to farm programs. Our results show the majority of people support farm subsidies, but voting outcomes are sensitive to the costs of the policy and the magnitude of the payouts to farmers. We find people act altruistically toward small farmers and that people are averse to inequality. Furthermore, we found the publics attitude toward maintaining a secure food supply is a significant determinant of support for farm programs. Finally, we found that information about farmers average incomes and average production levels across different farm sizes had little effect on peoples willingness to subsidize small or large farmers.
©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston