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What is sustainable agriculture? Empirical evidence of diverging views in Switzerland and New Zealand

  • Aerni, Philipp
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    Public debates on sustainable agriculture tend to be shaped by dominant political stakeholders with a particular political agenda. They simultaneously contribute and respond to the formation of public opinion. In this paper, we investigate to what extent stakeholder attitudes and interests help explain national conceptions of sustainable agriculture and how these conceptions diverge between countries with different agricultural policies. For that purpose, we conducted two stakeholder perception surveys in Switzerland and New Zealand. The data analysis revealed that there are significant differences in perception between the two countries. While Swiss respondents felt that Swiss agriculture is already quite sustainable and that international trade and new technologies are likely to render it less sustainable, New Zealand respondents generally thought that economic and technological change is necessary to make agriculture more sustainable. The conservative Swiss attitude is in accordance with the country's defensive agricultural policy while the more progressive New Zealand attitude is clearly linked to its need to reconcile agricultural sustainability with national competitiveness.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VDY-4VJ989Y-2/2/fee2ace7bdf60b99ee09a1240445df1c
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 68 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 6 (April)
    Pages: 1872-1882

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:6:p:1872-1882
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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    5. Dan Ariely & George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 2003. ""Coherent Arbitrariness": Stable Demand Curves Without Stable Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 73-105, February.
    6. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "Social norms and human cooperation," Macroeconomics 0409026, EconWPA.
    7. Bryan Caplan, 2007. "Introduction to The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies
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    8. J. Aitchison & Michael Greenacre, 2001. "Biplots of compositional data," Economics Working Papers 557, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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