Dynamics of Individual and Collective Agricultural Adaptation to Water Scarcity

Winter Simulation Conference 2016

12 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2016 Last revised: 21 Jul 2016

Emily K. Burchfield

Vanderbilt University - Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment

Jonathan M. Gilligan

Vanderbilt University - Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Date Written: July 20, 2016

Abstract

Drought and water scarcity are growing challenges to agriculture around the world. Farmers can adapt through both individual and community-based collective actions. We draw on extensive field-work conducted with paddy farmers in rural Sri Lanka to study adaptations to water scarcity, including switching to less water-intensive crops, farming collectively on shared land, and individually turning to groundwater by digging wells. We explore how variability in climate affects agricultural decision-making at the community and individual levels using three types of decision-making, each characterized by an objective function: risk-averse expected utility, regret-adjusted expected utility, and prospect theory loss-aversion. We also assess how the introduction of individualized access to irrigation water with wells affects community-based drought mitigation practices. Preliminary results suggest that the growth of well-irrigation may produce sudden disruptions to community-based adaptations, but that this depends on the mental models farmers use to think about risk and make decisions under uncertainty.

Keywords: agent-based models,drought,agriculture,common-pool resources,sustainability,decision science,climate adaptation,prospect theory

Suggested Citation

Burchfield, Emily K. and Gilligan, Jonathan M., Dynamics of Individual and Collective Agricultural Adaptation to Water Scarcity (July 20, 2016). Winter Simulation Conference 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2807452

Emily K. Burchfield

Vanderbilt University - Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment ( email )

2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240
United States

Jonathan M. Gilligan (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences ( email )

VU Station B #351805
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37235-1805
United States
615.322.2420 (Phone)
615.322.2138 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://my.vanderbilt.edu/jonathangilligan

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