Explaining the Conversion to Organic Farming of Farmers of the Obwalden Canton, Switzerland - Extension of the Theory of Planned Behavior within a Structural Equation Modeling Approach

Farmers' decisions about conversion to organic farming are analyzed with a structural equation model. The Theory of Planned Behavior (ToPB), one of the prominent theories in the social psychology, is used as the theoretical basis of this study. Though ToPB is a well-defined theory, it is static rather than procedural and cannot model the individual decision-making as a process. Therefore, we first examine the general applicability of ToPB in an agricultural context and explain the variance in intentions of farmers to convert to organic farming. Second, we extend the ToPB to make it more procedural. For this purpose, research findings from the Diffusion Theory are included as part of the behavioral model. The empirical results indicate that, overall, the model has an acceptable fit to the data. The effects of the additional variables "Goal" and "Communication" are highly significant. This illustrates the importance of forming personal goals in the behavior domain and that people act in a goal-directed, rational way. Moreover, it gives empirical evidence that communication through personal channels has a great impact on individual decision-making. Altogether, this study shows that the extended ToPB provides an appropriate approach to investigate individual decision-making processes in agriculture.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
C8; D1; Q12; Z13
Series Statement:
Contributed Paper

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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