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Can we nudge farmers into saving water? Evidence from a randomized experiment

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  • Sylvain Chabe-Ferret

    (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - UCA [2017-2020] - Université Clermont Auvergne [2017-2020] - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Philippe Le Coent

    (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - FRE2010 - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier)

  • Arnaud Reynaud

    (TSE-R - Toulouse School of Economics - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Julie Subervie

    (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - FRE2010 - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier)

  • Daniel Lepercq

    (CACG - Compagnie d'aménagement des côteaux de Gascogne - Compagnie d'aménagement des côteaux de Gascogne - CACG)

Abstract

Improving water efficiency is a growing challenge for the Common Agricultural Policy. In this article, we test whether social comparison nudges can promote water-saving behavior among farmers. We report on a pilot Randomized Controlled Trial, in which information on individual and group water consumption were sent every week to farmers equipped with smartmeters. We do not detect an effect of nudges on average water consumption. We however find that the nudge decreases water consumption at the top of the distribution while it increases consumption at the bottom. This study highlights the potential of nudges as an agricultural policy tool.

Suggested Citation

  • Sylvain Chabe-Ferret & Philippe Le Coent & Arnaud Reynaud & Julie Subervie & Daniel Lepercq, 2018. "Can we nudge farmers into saving water? Evidence from a randomized experiment," Working Papers hal-01947420, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-01947420
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.umontpellier.fr/hal-01947420
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    2. Neckermann, Susanne & Turmunkh, Uyanga & van Dolder, Dennie & Wang, Tong V., 2022. "Nudging student participation in online evaluations of teaching: Evidence from a field experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 141(C).
    3. Wuepper, David & Roleff, Nikolaus & Finger, Robert, 2021. "Does it matter who advises farmers? Pest management choices with public and private extension," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 99(C).
    4. Yoshitaka Miyake & Shota Kimoto & Yuta Uchiyama & Ryo Kohsaka, 2022. "Income Change and Inter-Farmer Relations through Conservation Agriculture in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan: Empirical Analysis of Economic and Behavioral Factors," Land, MDPI, vol. 11(2), pages 1-18, February.
    5. Villamayor-Tomas, Sergio & Sagebiel, Julian & Rommel, Jens & Olschewski, Roland, 2021. "Types of collective action problems and farmers’ willingness to accept agri-environmental schemes in Switzerland," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 50(C).
    6. Buchholz, Matthias & Peth, Denise & Mußhoff, Oliver, 2018. "Tax or green nudge? An experimental analysis of pesticide policies in Germany," DARE Discussion Papers 1813, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development (DARE).
    7. Massfeller, Anna & Meraner, Manuela & Hüttel, Silke & Uehleke, Reinhard, 2021. "Farmers' Acceptance of Result-Based Agri-Environmental Schemes - Insights from a Case Study in North Rhine-Westphalia," 2021 Conference, August 17-31, 2021, Virtual 315148, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    8. Michał Dudek & Wioletta Wrzaszcz, 2020. "On the Way to Eco-Innovations in Agriculture: Concepts, Implementation and Effects at National and Local Level. The Case of Poland," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(12), pages 1-22, June.
    9. Kafle, Kashi & Balasubramanya, Soumya, 2021. "IFAD Research Series Issues 66 - Can perceptions of reduction in physical water availability affect irrigation behaviour? Evidence from Jordan," IFAD Research Series 313230, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
    10. Noeldeke, Beatrice, 2022. "Promoting Agroforestry in Rwanda: the Effects of Policy Interventions Derived from the Theory of Planned Behaviour," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-693, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    11. Peter Howley & Neel Ocean, 2022. "Can nudging only get you so far? Testing for nudge combination effects [Social norms and energy conservation]," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 49(5), pages 1086-1112.
    12. Villamayor-Tomas, Sergio & Sagebiel, Julian & Olschewski, Roland, 2019. "Bringing the neighbors in: A choice experiment on the influence of coordination and social norms on farmers’ willingness to accept agro-environmental schemes across Europe," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 200-215.
    13. von Zahn, Moritz & Bauer, Kevin & Mihale-Wilson, Cristina & Jagow, Johanna & Speicher, Max & Hinz, Oliver, 2022. "The smart green nudge: Reducing product returns through enriched digital footprints & causal machine learning," SAFE Working Paper Series 363, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    14. Daniele Curzi & Sylvain Chabé‐Ferret & Salvatore Di Falco & Laure Kuhfuss & Marianne Lefebvre & Alan Matthews, 2022. "Using Experiments to Design and Evaluate the CAP: Insights from an Expert Panel," EuroChoices, The Agricultural Economics Society, vol. 21(2), pages 28-34, August.
    15. Dimitri Dubois & Stefano Farolfi & Phu Nguyen-Van & Juliette Rouchier, 2020. "Contrasting effects of information sharing on common-pool resource extraction behavior: Experimental findings," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(10), pages 1-20, October.
    16. Kafle, Kashi & Balasubramanya, Soumya, 2021. "Can Perceptions of Reduction in Physical Water Availability Affect Irrigation Behaviors? Evidence from Jordan," 2021 Conference, August 17-31, 2021, Virtual 315121, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    17. Benjamin Ouvrard & Raphaële Préget & Arnaud Reynaud & Laetitia Tuffery, 2020. "Nudging and Subsidizing Farmers to Foster Smart Water Meter Adoption," Working Papers hal-02958784, HAL.

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    Keywords

    behavioral economics; nudges; goverment policy; irrigation water use;
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