Doing More with Less: Leveraging Social Norms and Status Concerns in Encouraging Conservation Farm Practices

35 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2019 Last revised: 20 Dec 2019

See all articles by Peter Howley

Peter Howley

University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS)

Neel Ocean

University of Leeds

Date Written: August 20, 2019

Abstract

Engagement in conservation farm practices often lag behind what would be predicted by an analysis of economic returns. Our proposed explanation is that farmers’ decision to engage in such practices is a function of both profit and other non-monetary issues such as identity concerns. Through a number of novel experiments, we illustrate how identity-based utility can be harnessed to encourage pro-environmental behaviours. Specifically our findings illustrate how providing farmers with an opportunity to demonstrate their ‘green credentials’ as well the use of descriptive norms can encourage conservation practices. Interventions such as these can be a low cost and powerful supplement to traditional policy tools. New approaches for engendering behavioural change is likely to be particularly important in a UK context as the UK transitions out of the EU, and a new suite of agri-environmental initiatives will need to be developed if the UK is to maintain existing environmental standards.

Keywords: Social norms, peer-effects, environmental measures, farmers, agri-environmental schemes

Suggested Citation

Howley, Peter and Ocean, Neel, Doing More with Less: Leveraging Social Norms and Status Concerns in Encouraging Conservation Farm Practices (August 20, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3439994 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3439994

Peter Howley (Contact Author)

University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS) ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

Neel Ocean

University of Leeds ( email )

Leeds, LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

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