Using behavioural economics to understand farm household decision-making in the EGP

How do farmers make decisions? Can behavioural economics help to understand farmer decision making, and contribute to more effective interventions that increase adoption of sustainable technologies?

A new project funded under ACIAR’s Crop program is aiming to answer some of these questions by applying a behavioural economics lens to understanding how farmers and service providers in the Eastern Gangetic Plains make decisions to adopt new technologies. The project on Understanding farm-household management decision-making for increased productivity in the EGP (CSE/2012/108) will build on work done under the Sustainable and Resilient Farming Systems Intensification (SRFSI), to use the rich experience and networks established as a complex case study. They aim to provide robust evidence to demonstrate that behavioural economics approaches can help ‘tweak’ extension services, input supply systems and service provision to create conditions that encourage farmers to adopt CASI technologies more quickly and comprehensively.

While this project is not funded under SDIP, it is aligned very closely by building on previous work, operating in the same locations and with some of the same partners. During the meeting, several options for collaboration with SDIP were identified. This includes with the scaling variation of SRFSI, with the institutional innovation project under Component 3, and ongoing work on weed management. The scaling variation work plans can both inform the BE project, as well as benefiting from insights into more effective approaches to encourage adoption. The institutional innovation project shares some methodological approaches (for example choice experiments) and will be able to share experiences with this approach, and will be able to inform the BE project on which are the most effective institutional arrangements at the local level.

The BE project is led by Associate Professor Fay Rola-Rubzen at the University of Western Australia, with partners from Australia (UNE), India (UBKV, BAU), Nepal (NARC) and Bangladesh (RDRS, Rajshahi University). It will run for 3.5 years, and we very much look forward to a strong and productive collaboration to contribute to the overall goal of achieving sustainable food systems.

For more information, please contact Associate Professor Fay Rola-Rubzen (fay.rola-rubzen@uwa.edu.au).

Associate Professor Fay Role-Rubzen outlines the project approach using the model developed by the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian government (BETA).

Associate Professor Fay Role-Rubzen outlines the project approach using the model developed by the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian government (BETA).

NewsTamara Jackson