Agriculture is one of the economic sectors most exposed to exogenous risks such as climate hazards and price volatility on agricultural markets. Agricultural policies targeting the adoption of environment-friendly but potentially risk-increasing practices cannot ignore this challenge. Farmers have indeed to decide if they take the foreground risk associated with the adoption of environment-friendly practices, while simultaneously facing exogenous background risk beyond their control. Using a theoretical model and a public good experiment, we analyse the adoption of agri-environmental practices and the effect of agri-environmental subsidies in a context where risks are both foreground and background. While most of the literature on background risk focuses on its impact on individual decisions, we analyse the influence of background risk in a context of strategic uncertainty (contribution to a public good). The results highlight the potential synergies between greening the CAP and supporting risk management. We find that background risk discourages the adoption of green practices, although it affects all farmland independently from the farmer’s choice of practices (environment friendly or conventional). An incentive payment per hectare of land farmed with green practices increases the adoption of risk-increasing practices but is significantly less effective in the presence of background risk.
Estelle Midler, Marianne Lefebvre, and Philippe Bontems, “Adoption of environment-friendly agricultural practices with background risk: experimental evidence”, Environmental and Resource Economics, vol. 76, May 2020, pp. 405–428.
Environmental and Resource Economics, vol. 76, May 2020, pp. 405–428