Which motivations would make farmers happier, and which would they choose?

32 Pages Posted: 10 May 2021

See all articles by Neel Ocean

Neel Ocean

University of Warwick

Peter Howley

University of Leeds - Faculty of Business

Date Written: May 7, 2021

Abstract

Well-being research in the past decade has found that people broadly, but not always, would choose the option they think would make them the happiest. Concurrently, work on farmer well-being has identified the most important pecuniary and non-pecuniary motivations from which they derive happiness. Using a survey on UK farmers, we presented six hypothetical and novel farming vignettes that describe potential trade-offs between pecuniary and non-pecuniary motivations, in order to measure how closely choice and happiness correspond in an agricultural context. We find that what farmers would choose to do broadly corresponds with what they think would make them happiest, which supports the use of subjective well-being measures as a proxy for decision utility in agricultural research. In situations where a disparity between choice and well-being does exist, farmers appear willing to trade happiness for increases in income. The results demonstrate that non-pecuniary benefits form important components of a farmer’s utility, and also show how preferences between pecuniary and nonpecuniary benefits can vary based on farm and farmer characteristics.

Keywords: Farmers, well-being, preferences, happiness vs choice, non-pecuniary benefits

JEL Classification: Q12, I31

Suggested Citation

Ocean, Neel and Howley, Peter, Which motivations would make farmers happier, and which would they choose? (May 7, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3841604 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3841604

Neel Ocean

University of Warwick

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Peter Howley (Contact Author)

University of Leeds - Faculty of Business ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

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