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Report, 2021

Environmental Cooperation at Landscape Scales: First Insights from Co-Designing Public Goods Games with Farmers in Four EU Member States

Rommel, Jens; van Bussel, Lenny; le Clech, Solen; Czajkowski, Mikołaj; Höhler, Julia; Matzdorf, Bettina; Megyesi, Boldizsár; Sagebiel, Julian; Schulze, Christoph; Wechner, Vera; Zagorska, Katarzyna


In this milestone report, we explain how we have developed public goods games to perform an exante assessment of novel collective contract models in the Contracts2.0 project. Workshops were conducted in Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Poland. The first data collection was completed in Germany, and an expert prediction survey was run in parallel to the public goods game with German farmers. The overall experiences from the workshops have been positive. The public goods game was met with great interest from stakeholders, albeit in all instances, there were concerns about the level of abstraction of the game. Another frequent concern was parallelism, i.e., the link between game results and real-world behaviour. We used 358 completed online responses from German farmers for an initial analysis. Farmers’ behaviour in our study differed substantially from participants in the laboratory. Overall levels of cooperation among farmers were substantially higher than one would expect from previous laboratory studies. In addition, treatment effects were not in the expected direction. The only treatment that showed substantially larger contributions was to emphasize the social optimum of the game. Expert predictions were more in line with the literature from experimental laboratory studies than with the actual behaviour of farmers. Among the experts, those indicating good knowledge on the public goods game, predicted more accurately, whereas stated sector-specific knowledge (on agriculture, the common agricultural policy, or agri-environmental schemes) did not substantially improve predictions.


experimental economics; behavioural economics; collaboration; coordination; collective agri-environmental contracts

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Publisher: Contracts 2.0