Which motivations would make farmers happier, and which would they choose?
32 Pages Posted: 10 May 2021
Date Written: May 7, 2021
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: Suggested Citation