The behavioral and experimental economics of agriculture and the environment
Agriculture provides livelihoods to approximately one quarter of the global population. The sector is inextricably linked to global sustainability challenges, such as food security, open nutrient cycles, biodiversity loss, and high carbon emissions. Understanding behavior and achieving behavioral change among consumers, farmers, and other value chains actors lies at the core of many of these challenges. The wide range of contexts in which these actors operate make it difficult to identify one-size-fits-all solutions.My research objective is to deepen our understanding of human behavior and to contribute to improved decision-making. I will argue how experimental methods and behavioral economic theory can help us to address global sustainability challenges in agriculture. In my talk, I will briefly summarize recent research results from experimental and behavioral economics. Drawing on two short examples from my own research, I will show how these approaches can be applied to research problems in agriculture. I will explain how experiments are adapted from abstract laboratory to field settings.
In the second part of my talk, I will focus on three challenges that I want to tackle in my research in the future.
- I will argue that we need to improve the ecological validity of experimental studies. That is, we must do a better job at showing how research results from experimental studies are applicable to real world problems.
- I will argue that we need to combine experiments with trans- and interdisciplinary methods for a holistic understanding of sustainability challenges in agriculture.
- I will argue that we need to reorganize research practice towards open science. In particular, we must incentivize replication and the systematic accumulation of evidence.