Date of Award:

2016

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Applied Economics

Advisor/Chair:

Kynda Curtis

Abstract

Agriculture and commerce activities make up a significant part of Paraguay’s economy. The success of these sectors is important for Paraguay’s continued development in rural areas where agriculture activities are most prevalent and nonagriculture activities are increasing in demand. Current literature indicates many factors that contribute to success in both business and farming operations; however, little information is available regarding the perception of young entrepreneurs and farmers. Paraguay’s young population will need more employment opportunities, many of which may come from new start-up operations.

The purpose of this study was to identify attributes and perceptions that affect perceived barriers to business and farming operations in rural areas of Paraguay. This study examined young would-be entrepreneurs and agricultural producers participating in entrepreneurial courses and agribusiness leadership workshops, respectively. Two surveys (small-business and small-farm) were administered to the respective groups. Respondents were asked to share their perceptions of common business factors that might or might not contribute to small-enterprise success, along with demographic and characteristic questions.

Results of mean test-statistic comparison show that some significant differences exist between the two groups. Some of the most notable differences were larger average family size in the small-farm group, more female participation in the small-business group, a greater average of secondary and postsecondary education in the small-business group, and more respondents reporting more past-experience in the small-farm group. Combining both survey observations and analyzing them with ordered logit models, results suggest that education, training, and past-experience hold a negative correlation with perceived barriers-to-entry to business and farm operations. As education and experience increase, perceptions of barrier factors decrease. This analysis also finds that people who are employed in the private sector are more likely to perceive capital as a barrier-to-entry; whereas land and access to property is more likely to be viewed as a larger hurdle in the agriculture sector.

Educating, training and providing experience to young would-be entrepreneurs and farm operators will improve perceptions of business entry. Future research might include perceptions of current government and nonprofit organization programs and initiatives, to better analyze the effectiveness of such rural development efforts.

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