Farmers' land-use decision-making: a dynamical modelling approach that integrates qualitative knowledge about social norms into a quantitative model.

Published online
20 Sep 2023
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
People and Nature

Vortkamp, I. & Hilker, F. M.
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The concept of the homo oeconomicus is often used to model human behaviour in economic contexts. However, other factors like tradition or the preference to comply with social norms can play a role in decision-making processes. To emphasize the need for incorporating non-pecuniary values in economic models, we use data for participation in several agri-environment schemes (AES) in Europe and show that dynamical patterns can not be simulated by models using the homo oeconomicus concept. The presented data show gradually increasing participation levels in AES even if payment levels are constant. Furthermore, low participation levels are sometimes observed despite appropriate incentive schemes. We propose and investigate a dynamic mathematical model to implement social norms in farmers' land-use decision-making in the face of AES. This socio-economic model can help to explain the variety of observed behavioural patterns. It can generate multistable dynamics regarding the level of AES participation in the long-term. We further assume that informative campaigns can modify farmers' perception of norms. Campaigns can have a stabilizing effect if strong enough. The attempt of this work is to gain a better understanding of how the integration of social human behaviour in economic models affects simulation patterns.

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