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Farmers’ Adaptation to Climate Change: A Framed Field Experiment


  • Alpízar, Francisco
  • Carlsson, Fredrik
  • Naranjo, Maria A.


The risk of losing income and productive means due to adverse weather can differ significantly among farmers sharing a productive landscape and is, of course, hard to estimate or even “guesstimate” empirically. Moreover, the costs associated with investments in adaptation to climate are likely to exhibit economies of scope. We explore the implications of these characteristics on Costa Rican coffee farmers’ decisions to adapt to climate change, using a framed field experiment. Despite having a baseline of high levels of risk aversion, we still found that farmers more frequently chose the safe options when the setting is characterized by unknown risk (that is, poor or unreliable risk information). Second, we found that farmers, to a large extent, coordinated their decisions to secure a lower adaptation cost and that communication among farmers strongly facilitated coordination.

Suggested Citation

  • Alpízar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Naranjo, Maria A., 2010. "Farmers’ Adaptation to Climate Change: A Framed Field Experiment," Discussion Papers dp-09-18-rev-efd, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-09-18-rev-efd

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jim Engle-Warnick & Javier Escobal & Sonia Laszlo, 2007. "Ambiguity Aversion as a Predictor of Technology Choice: Experimental Evidence from Peru," CIRANO Working Papers 2007s-01, CIRANO.
    2. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    3. Oriana Bandiera & Imran Rasul, 2006. "Social Networks and Technology Adoption in Northern Mozambique," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 869-902, October.
    4. Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008. "Mad cows, terrorism and junk food: Should public policy reflect perceived or objective risks?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 234-248, March.
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    More about this item


    risk; ambiguity; technology adoption; climate change; field experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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