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Technology Adoption
      & Mechanisms

“…(production) systems are as much behavioral as technical. They require daily interactions within the … bureaucracies, among farmers, and between the bureaucracies and the farmers . . . Yet the thought, time and effort devoted to understanding and dealing with behavioral questions are infinitesimal by comparison to that devoted to the … (natural and physical science) issues.” Committee on the Future of Irrigation (1996, p. 12, citing Levine)

Project Goals
Technology Adoption
  • Provide a knowledge base about farmer motivation with respect to adoption and use of carbon sequestration technologies (including costs)
  • Empirically test whether current social theories characterize motivations and behaviors
  • Develop a new theory to explain the motivational and behavioral track or evolution of farmers
  • Collect “personological typology” data using the latest internet and GIS technology

Mechanism and Incentives
  • Explore the Nebraska institutional setting
    • Could the Natural Resource Districts be the aggregator?
    • What laws would we have to change?
  • Research the national and international scene
  • Explore theoretical frameworks and methods
  • Sub-contract with the UNL-Public Policy Center (PPC contracted with the Carbon Sequestration Advisory Committee to provide an overview of the legal, regulatory and economic situation)
  • Search for funding

State of the Technology Adoption (Behavior) Literature (after Nowak and Korsching, 1998)
  • Lack of consistency on how to measure behavior
  • Adoption needs to be treated as an ongoing process
  • Inadequate sampling of the biophysical context
  • Inadequate attention to matching practice to setting
  • Improve modeling across people, time and place
  • Good scientific base given the paucity in resources devoted to the human side

Mechanism Types
  • Regulatory: Government mandates to sequester carbon in agricultural lands, e.g., require sequestration to receive payments
  • Pigouvian taxes and subsidies: Tax emissions (or, generally tax consumers of electricity) with green payments to farmers for practices
  • Coasian (Paretian) markets: Evolving emissions and carbon commodity markets
  • “Cap and Trade” Mechanisms

State of the Mechanisms Literature
  • Sulfur emissions allowances, “cap and trade” experiment (see Ellerman et al., 2000)
  • Scientific information also available on the “cap and trade” experiences in the fishery (ITQs) and in water rights/emissions trading (see Colby, 2000)
  • New area of scientific inquiry: Has historically been for the past 30+ years largely theoretical, speculative, back to Dales (1968)

Project Description
Technology Adoption
  • Draw on the scientific base in social psychology and metaeconomics
  • Focus groups + Survey 1500 farmers:
    • Saunders County, NE:  Irrigated corn/soybeans (actually a mixed dryland, irrigated area)
    • Cedar, Dixon, Dakota and Thurston Counties:  Dryland corn/soybeans
    • Polk County: Continuously irrigated corn
  • Statistical Modeling (probability of action is a function of ego, empathy, symbiotic interaction, ability, capital, habit and location)

Technology & Adoption and Mechanisms Interaction
  • Behavioral (Technology Adoption) research feeds into this Mechanisms research
  • Mechanisms designed on such a base will be appropriate to the personological typologies in the western Corn Belt and northern Great Plains
  • Mechanisms research in turn helps understand and explain the actions of farmers affecting:
    • Flows of carbon into and out of the soil stock of carbon
    • Level of the soil stock of carbon that is maintained

Saunders county study:
  • Completed the survey in 2002-2003
  • Completed M.S. Thesis: Kruse, Colby E. Explaining Farmer Behavior in Relation to Sequestering Carbon on Nebraska Farms. Unpublished M.S. Thesis. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, July, 2003
  • Paper presented at the Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics/International Association for Research in Economic Psychology joint conference, in Philadelphia: Kruse, C., Sautter, J., and Lynne, G. “Resolving the Conflict in Joint Interests over Global Warming.” Working Paper. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, July, 2003.:

Cedar, Dakota, Dixon and Thurston Counties
  • Survey completed in spring of 2004
  • Data analysis in process

Popular papers in Cornhusker Economics:

Extension programming:
  • Presented an overview of decision making about carbon sequestration to the farmer participants in the Center for Rural Affairs project on Carbon Sequestration, February, 2003
  • Yearly presentations to the Nebraska Carbon Sequestration Advisory Committee since inception of the Committee

Gary Lynne  (Professor)

Colby Kruse  (Graduate Assistant (MS))

John Sautter  (Graduate Sssistant (PhD))

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