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Perceived economic pressures and farmer ethics


  • Harvey S. James
  • Mary K. Hendrickson


We hypothesize that an increase in the economic pressures a farmer feels could result in that farmer being more tolerant of unethical conduct than farmers not experiencing economic pressures. To test this hypothesis, we use data from a survey of 3,000 Missouri farmers with farm sales in excess of $10,000 in 2005 in which farmers were asked how acceptable they considered various unethical or questionable farming practices. The survey also contained questions designed to measure perceived economic pressures. We find evidence that economic pressures result in a greater willingness of farmers to tolerate unethical conduct, particularly in the case of actions that have the potential of causing harm or that are influenced by law or contract. We also find that the more frequently a farmer reports observing an unethical action, the more accepting he is of it.

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  • Harvey S. James & Mary K. Hendrickson, 2008. "Perceived economic pressures and farmer ethics," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 38(3), pages 349-361, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:agecon:v:38:y:2008:i:3:p:349-361
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-0862.2008.00305.x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Does Competition Destroy Ethical Behavior?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 414-418, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno S. Frey, 2010. "Withering Academia," CREMA Working Paper Series 2010-19, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    2. Harvey James, 2011. "From the editor," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 28(2), pages 149-151, June.
    3. Dina M. Abdelzaher & Amr Kotb & Akrum Helfaya, 2019. "Eco-Islam: Beyond the Principles of Why and What, and Into the Principles of How," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 623-643, March.
    4. Bruno S. Frey, 2010. "Withering academia?," IEW - Working Papers 512, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. Hendrickson, Mary K. & Howard, Philip H. & Constance, Douglas H., 2017. "Power, Food and Agriculture: Implications for Farmers, Consumers and Communities," EconStor Preprints 171171, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    6. Mary Hendrickson, 2015. "Resilience in a concentrated and consolidated food system," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 5(3), pages 418-431, September.
    7. Sulemana, Iddisah & James, Harvey S., 2014. "Farmer identity, ethical attitudes and environmental practices," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 49-61.

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