Exploring heterogeneity in farmers’ willingness to cooperate in four EU member states: Insights from public goods games

Last changed: 22 May 2023
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Johannes Amon, Agricultural, Food and Environmental Policy Analysis (AFEPA) - Master's programme


Agri-environment-climate-measures (AECMs) are providing an incentivized toolbox of environmentally friendly practices to European farmers. Although AECMs in European agricultural landscapes provide important ecosystem services, they often face criticism, (e.g. low cost-effectiveness). Collective AECMs on the other hand, where farmers are required to cooperate, offer many benefits (e.g. higher cost-effectiveness). However, there is limited and inconclusive research regarding farmers' willingness to cooperate for collective AECMs. Therefore, my thesis explores farmers’ willingness to cooperate on AECMs, using data from public goods games played in Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, and Poland. In the experiments, farmers were given a sum of money, which they needed to divide between a private and a group account, with the aim of maximizing the collective benefit. As a first step, I use graphical methods to examine the different contributions of the farmers to the group account, before applying a Finite Mixture Model to the data. German and Dutch farmers contribute more (70% and 75% respectively) than Polish and Hungarian farmers (57% and 50% respectively). The results show that German and Dutch farmers can be categorised into two different classes, whereas in Hungary and Poland, three different classes are evident. Having the abstract nature of my research scenario in mind, I conclude that there is a higher willingness to collaborate on AECMs in Germany and the Netherlands. The more observed freeriding in Hungary and Poland underlines the need for monitoring. The overall heterogeneity in the willingness to cooperate shows, that holistic approaches are necessary to promote collective AECMs among farmers.


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