Who crops coca and why? The case of Colombian farmers
Approximately 1.2% of Colombia’s GNP is spent every year on the war on drugs, but very little is known about coca farming decisions at the household level. In order to understand the decision to cultivate coca as well as that of the amount of land to use for its cultivation, we develop an extended version of the portfolio model of crime that considers the effects of behavioral norms and lack of options in the legal economy. The model is tested using data from an original survey with coca and non-coca farmers living in Putumayo, Colombia. We find that farmers react to economic incentives and hence eradication and substitution programs reduce coca cultivation. More interestingly, we find that coca cultivation decisions are explained by moral considerations as well as by the impossibility of making a living from legal forms of agriculture.
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