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The role of non-cognitive skills in farmers' adoption of climate change mitigation measures

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  • Kreft, Cordelia
  • Huber, Robert
  • Wuepper, David
  • Finger, Robert

Abstract

Farmers' adoption of climate change mitigation measures is key to successfully reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. This article investigates the role of non-cognitive skills, namely self-efficacy and locus of control, in farmers' uptake of mitigation measures. The study is based on a combination of survey and census data from 105 farmers in Switzerland. Almost all farmers in our sample already adopt some of the considered measures to reduce greenhouse gases on their farm. On average, 37% of the mitigation measures available to the specific farm type are adopted. We find that a one standard deviation increase in non-cognitive skills is associated with a 20 to 40% higher share of adopted mitigation measures. This relationship is robust to the inclusion of a comprehensive vector of controls, inspired both from the agricultural economics and the psychology literature. Additionally, we find that omitted variable bias would need to be implausibly large to refute our findings. Finally, we explore potential mechanisms. The suggested pathway through which non-cognitive skills are associated with the adoption of climate change mitigation measures is the innovativeness of the farmers. Fostering farmers' non-cognitive skills could be an effective policy lever to accelerate the diffusion of climate change mitigation measures.

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  • Kreft, Cordelia & Huber, Robert & Wuepper, David & Finger, Robert, 2021. "The role of non-cognitive skills in farmers' adoption of climate change mitigation measures," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:189:y:2021:i:c:s0921800921002275
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107169
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