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Simulating the diffusion of organic farming practices in two New EU Member States

Author

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  • Kaufmann, Peter
  • Stagl, Sigrid
  • Franks, Daniel W.

Abstract

Agriculture continues to be a major contributor to water pollution, climate change and loss of biodiversity although policies to encourage farmers to work to higher sustainability standards in food and energy crop production have increased throughout the European Union. In New Member States, accession to the European Union mostly brought a substantially increased public support to foster the diffusion of certified organic farming. However, the take-up of organic farming is varied for reasons that are not yet well understood. In this paper, we analyse the diffusion of organic farming through farm populations. This involves an understanding of farmer behaviour and how it can change over time. We present a generic agent based model that builds on the Theory of Planned Behaviour as framework for understanding and modelling farmers' decision-making processes. The model is applied to high-diffusion regions in two New EU Member States, Latvia and Estonia. The values for the model's parameters are informed by survey data. The model reproduces the interdependence of social influence and economic factors. Social influence alone is shown to make little difference to the model dynamics; organic farmers remain organic, and conventional farmers remain conventional. Introducing a change to the environment (e.g. a subsidy) results in an increase in the proportion of adopters. Thus, economic factors appear to be more influential than social factors. However, only when allowing for both, the subsidy and social influence, do we reveal the whole picture and the combined adoption rate is higher than the sum of the proportion of adopters resulting from just social influence (without a subsidy) and from just a subsidy (without social influence). We also compare the effect of the subsidy with the effect of influence from organic farm advisors to develop policy recommendations.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaufmann, Peter & Stagl, Sigrid & Franks, Daniel W., 2009. "Simulating the diffusion of organic farming practices in two New EU Member States," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2580-2593, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:10:p:2580-2593
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:11:p:2024-:d:117595 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Laura Schmitt Olabisi & Ryan Qi Wang & Arika Ligmann-Zielinska, 2015. "Why Don’t More Farmers Go Organic? Using A Stakeholder-Informed Exploratory Agent-Based Model to Represent the Dynamics of Farming Practices in the Philippines," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 1-24, October.
    3. Robinson, Scott A. & Rai, Varun, 2015. "Determinants of spatio-temporal patterns of energy technology adoption: An agent-based modeling approach," Applied Energy, Elsevier, pages 273-284.
    4. Sorda, G. & Sunak, Y. & Madlener, R., 2013. "An agent-based spatial simulation to evaluate the promotion of electricity from agricultural biogas plants in Germany," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 43-60.
    5. repec:eee:ecolec:v:140:y:2017:i:c:p:177-189 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:agisys:v:159:y:2018:i:c:p:111-125 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Ruiz de Maya, Salvador & López-López, Inés & Munuera, José Luis, 2011. "Organic food consumption in Europe: International segmentation based on value system differences," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(10), pages 1767-1775, August.
    8. Elmar Kiesling & Markus Günther & Christian Stummer & Lea Wakolbinger, 2012. "Agent-based simulation of innovation diffusion: a review," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 20(2), pages 183-230, June.
    9. Dimitris Kremmydas, 2012. "Agent based modeling for agricultural policy evaluation: A review," Working Papers 2012-3, Agricultural University of Athens, Department Of Agricultural Economics.

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