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Time to Change What to Sow: Risk Preferences and Technology Adoption Decisions of Cotton Farmers in China

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  • Elaine M. Liu

    (University of Houston)

Abstract

This paper examines the role of individual risk attitudes in the decision to adopt a new form of agricultural biotechnology in China. I conducted a survey and a field experiment to elicit the risk preferences of Chinese farmers, who faced the decision of whether to adopt genetically modified Bt cotton a decade ago. In my analysis, I expand the measurement of risk preferences beyond expected utility theory to incorporate prospect theory. I find that farmers who are more risk averse or more loss averse adopt Bt cotton later. Farmers who overweight small probabilities adopt Bt cotton earlier. © 2013 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Elaine M. Liu, 2013. "Time to Change What to Sow: Risk Preferences and Technology Adoption Decisions of Cotton Farmers in China," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1386-1403, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:95:y:2013:i:4:p:1386-1403
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    Keywords

    technology adoption; risk preferences; prospect theory;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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