Predicting Intensification on the Brazilian Agricultural Frontier: Combining Evidence from Lab-In-The-Field Experiments and Household Surveys | Land Portal

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January 2019
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© 2019 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

The expansion of crop agriculture onto low productivity cattle pastures in the agricultural frontier of Brazil is a form of agricultural intensification that can help to contribute to global food and climate goals. However, the amount of pasture to crop conversion in the region lags both agronomic and economic potential. We administered a survey in combination with a lab-in-the-field experiment to 559 farmers in Mato Grosso, Brazil. We used the results to explore behavioral determinants of pasture to crop conversion. We compared subjects’ choices across two rounds of a risk game meant to mimic the economic risk of decisions to convert pasture to crops. We found framing the risk game to concern agriculture profoundly altered subjects’ experimental choices. These discrepancies involved the majority of experimental subjects, and were highly heterogenous in nature. They were also somewhat predictive of subjects’ behavior converting pasture to cropland. Our findings indicate that farmers may make economic decisions involving agriculture and/or agricultural land differently from other economic decisions. Our finding are of relevance for research into the propensity of farmers to intensify and for policies seeking to influence rates of agricultural intensification.

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Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Bragança, Arthur
Cohn, S. Avery


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