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Behavioural insights for agriculture

European farmers are key to a sustainable EU. Understanding farmers’ decisions can lead to more effective agricultural policies.

Why behavioural insights matter

Farmers regularly take decisions that affect both their profitability and the environment. For instance, they choose which crop to grow, whether to invest in a new barn, how much pesticide to spray, and whether to join a cooperative.

Behavioural insights can help us better understand how and why farmers make these decisions. For instance:

  • mutual trust is fundamental for farmers to join producer organisations.
  • farmers are more likely to establish filter strips when they perceive clear environmental benefits for watershed protection.

  • farmers tend to adopt organic practices more if they sense social pressure in that direction.

Understanding these behavioural factors can contribute to more effective and efficient agricultural policies.

How behavioural insights can help

The post-2020 reform on the EU Common Agricultural Policy embeds behavioural evidence in the following documents:

Behavioural experiments can also help assess in advance the effect of policy options on farmers' decisions.



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Relevant resources

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PUBLICATION | 05 Apr 2019

For the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to be a success, it is necessary to understand farmers' decision-making and viewpoints beyond the assumptions made by neoclassical economics, because...