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The roles of risk and ambiguity in technology adoption

Author

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  • Barham, Bradford L.
  • Chavas, Jean-Paul
  • Fitz, Dylan
  • Salas, Vanessa Ríos
  • Schechter, Laura

Abstract

We study the impacts of risk and ambiguity aversion on the adoption of new technologies, specifically genetically modified (GM) corn and soy seeds. We conduct experiments measuring risk and ambiguity aversion with Midwestern grain farmers. Risk aversion has only a small impact on the timing of adoption of GM soy, while ambiguity-aversion has a large impact speeding up farmer adoption of GM corn. We hypothesize that this unusual finding is due to the fact that GM corn often contains an insect-resistance trait which reduces the ambiguity of pest damages for adopters. GM soy never contains this insect-resistance trait. This highlights the importance of distinguishing between risk and ambiguity when studying the effects of aversion to uncertainty on adoption of new technologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Barham, Bradford L. & Chavas, Jean-Paul & Fitz, Dylan & Salas, Vanessa Ríos & Schechter, Laura, 2014. "The roles of risk and ambiguity in technology adoption," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 204-218.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:97:y:2014:i:c:p:204-218
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.06.014
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    2. Soto, Iria & Achten, Wouter M.J. & Muys, Bart & Mathijs, Erik, 2015. "Who benefits from energy policy incentives? The case of jatropha adoption by smallholders in Mexico," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 37-47.
    3. Caroline Roussy & Aude Ridier & Karim Chaïb, 2014. "Adoption d’innovations par les agriculteurs : rôle des perceptions et des préférences," Post-Print hal-01123427, HAL.
    4. Coromaldi, Manuela & Pallante, Giacomo & Savastano, Sara, 2015. "Adoption of modern varieties, farmers' welfare and crop biodiversity: Evidence from Uganda," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 346-358.
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    12. Freudenreich, Hanna & Musshoff, Oliver & Wiercinski, Ben, 2017. "The Relationship between Farmers' Shock Experiences and their Uncertainty Preferences - Experimental Evidence from Mexico," GlobalFood Discussion Papers 256212, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
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    15. Franken, Jason R.V. & Cook, Michael L., 2015. "Investment Constraints in Agricultural Cooperatives," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205427, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
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    17. Lönnqvist, Jan-Erik & Verkasalo, Markku & Walkowitz, Gari & Wichardt, Philipp C., 2015. "Measuring individual risk attitudes in the lab: Task or ask? An empirical comparison," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 254-266.
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    19. Bradford L. Barham & Jean-Paul Chavas & Dylan Fitz & Vanessa Ríos-Salas & Laura Schechter, 2015. "Risk, learning, and technology adoption," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 46(1), pages 11-24, January.
    20. Chuang, Yating & Schechter, Laura, 2015. "Stability of experimental and survey measures of risk, time, and social preferences: A review and some new results," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 151-170.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk aversion; Ambiguity aversion; Technology adoption; Genetically modified (GM) seeds;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services

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