What Drives the Adoption of Clean Agricultural Technologies? An Ex Ante Assessment of Sustainable Biofuel Production in Southwestern Wisconsin

This paper explores the farmer’s general decision to adopt a clean agricultural production technology and the particular role of pro-social behavior. We hypothesize that pro-social behavior may influence farmers’ individual valuation of clean technologies through two channels, their beliefs about the technology’s public benefits and their preferences for environmental quality. A linear characteristics model is developed to illustrate how a pro-social preference structure may lead to different adoption outcomes as compared to the standard profitmaximization framework. We test this possibility using mail survey data on ex ante bioenergy crop adoption in southwestern Wisconsin. The contingent valuation empirical strategy estimates farmers’ distribution of willingness-to-accept values (i.e., minimum biomass reservation prices) as a function of expected pro-social behavior, factors that constrain short-run technological change, and other standard adoption influences. We find that the observed heterogeneity in WTA values is partially and significantly explained by expected pro-social behavior.

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 Record created 2017-08-04, last modified 2020-10-28

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