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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Information provision and preferences for more sustainable dairy farming: Choice experimental evidence from Sweden

Oyinbo, Oyakhilomen; Hansson, Helena

Abstract

Dairy farming in Europe faces profound environmental, social, and economic sustainability challenges, which are of significant policy interest. These challenges support the need for a transition toward the uptake of more sustainable dairy farming practices. This paper examines the effects of an advisory instrument "balanced sustainability information" on farmers' preferences for more grass-based feeding systems using a between-subjects design and a discrete choice experiment among a sample of Swedish dairy farmers. Conceptually, we develop a state-dependent utility framework with Bayesian updating to motivate the impact pathway. Our results demonstrate that on average, balanced sustainability information has negligible effects on farmers' feed choices, which could be a consequence of opposing responses to the information, among others. Considering farmer heterogeneity based on their identities and prior knowledge, we find support for some evidence of treatment effects. Our findings highlight important and policy-relevant critical reflections about overoptimistic expectations of information provision as an instrument to nudge behavioral change toward more sustainable farming practices.

Keywords

Balanced sustainability information; behavior; discrete choice experiment; grass-based feeds; policy instrument; D83; O33; Q18

Published in

Agricultural and Resource Economics Review
2024, Volume: 53, number: 1, pages: 119–143 Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS