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Abstract

In this study, elicited estimates of farmers' subjective beliefs about the mean and variance of wheat variety yields were used to test propositions about Bayesian learning developed in the recent literature on innovation adoption. A series of empirical tests of the Bayesian adoption model were conducted using beliefs elicited from farm surveys conducted in 1982, 1983 and 1984. The results of the analysis neither confirm nor reject the Bayesian approach as a model of how farmers revise subjective beliefs, but do raise serious doubts about its realism, and suggest some issues requiring further investigation. Shortcomings in the elicitation techniques are discussed and the assumptions of the Bayesian model are reviewed.

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