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Modelling farmer decision-making: concepts, progress and challenges

  • G. Edwards-Jones (a1)

Decisions made by farmers may have large influences beyond the farm boundary, and for this reason they are often of interest to Government and the public. The process of adoption of new technologies and policies has received considerable academic attention over many years, and this has highlighted the rôle of social influences in decision-making. In addition a range of purely economic-based models of farmer decision-making have been developed in order to predict potential changes in agriculture and land use under future policy and market scenarios. Since the 1990s these traditional approaches to understanding decision-making have been supplemented by an increasing input from psychology. As a result of this work it is clear that farmers' decisions are influenced by a range of factors which may be grouped under six headings: socio-demographics of the farmer, psychological make up of the farmer, the characteristics of the farm household, structure of the farm business, the wider social milieu and the characteristics of the innovation to be adopted. This paper presents a short review of the quantitative methods that seek to integrate insights from economics and social science within theoretical frameworks derived from psychology. Suggestions for further work include more empirical study in farmer decision-making related to animal health and welfare, the rôle of the farmers' own health status in decision-making and the formal integration of economic and psychological variables in simulation models.

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Animal Science
  • ISSN: 1357-7298
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