Empathy-Conditioned Conservation: “Walking in the Shoes of Others” as a Conservation Farmer
Conservation tillage on farms can improve downstream water quality. Using a dual-interests theoretical framework guided by the metaeconomics approach, this paper examines the role of self-interest and shared other-interest in the conservation tillage adoption decision. The data is from a 2007 survey of farmers in the Blue River/Tuttle Creek watershed of Nebraska and Kansas. Logit models show that farmers who temper their pursuit of self-interest with shared other-interest reflecting empathy-sympathy are more likely to adopt conservation tillage. Habit and control also play a role. Farmers pursue a joint and interdependent own-interest and not only self-interest as presumed in microeconomics.
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