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
Date Written: August 20, 2019
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
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