Purdue University Graduate School
William Walls thesis (FINAL).pdf (698.84 kB)

Socioemotional Wealth Impact on Farmer's Readiness to Retire

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posted on 2024-07-01, 19:56 authored by William Isaac WallsWilliam Isaac Walls

The practice of succession is utilized across many aspects of society, especially as it pertains to family farms. Historically, farm family businesses have been an integral part of the United States economy, and continuation of these family farms is not only a goal of theirs but needed for a thriving agricultural sector. This study seeks to discover how socioemotional wealth, having a successor interested in taking over the business, and perceived success in the farm family business impacts a farmer’s readiness to retire. The 2023 Farm Succession Survey was used to implement a logit regression and test hypothesized variables along with other business and owner demographic variables, in relation to incumbents feeling “rich and ready to go”. We find that the high amounts of socioemotional wealth experienced by respondents correlated with incumbents who were less ready to retire. Whereas, having a successor interested, perceiving the business as successful, and age increased the likelihood that respondents felt ready to retire. Socioemotional wealth brings a certain nuance to family farm business succession strategies, since it is a critical factor that influences both the positive and negative sides of succession planning decisions. Succession reflects the life cycles of farm households and businesses. Thus, understanding the emotions of the people involved in the succession practices of farm family businesses becomes more important as this may be a barrier to farmer retirement and subsequent land access for younger generations interested in farming as a career.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Agricultural Economics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Maria Marshall

Additional Committee Member 2

Brenna Ellison

Additional Committee Member 3

Chad Fiechter

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