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Personal Norms of Sustainability and Farm Management Behavior

Department of Sustainability Science and Department of Economics, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, P.O. Box 2440, Lüneburg 21314, Germany
Institute of Economics, University of Kiel, Olshausenstraße 40, Kiel 24118, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 4990-5017;
Received: 21 February 2014 / Revised: 1 July 2014 / Accepted: 11 July 2014 / Published: 6 August 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
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We empirically study personal norms of sustainability, conceptualized according to the norm-activation theory and operationalized under the notion of strong ecological-economic sustainability. Our case study is commercial cattle farming in semi-arid rangelands of Namibia, a system that is subject to extensive degradation. Using survey data, we characterize farmers’ personal ecosystems and income norms, study their determinants, and analyze their impact on actual management based on the dual-preferences model. We find that ecosystem and income norms are heterogeneous across farmers and independent from each other. Furthermore, farmers with better environmental and financial farm conditions have more demanding norms. We find no evidence for a significant impact of norms on actual management, which provides an explanation for the observed degradation of the system. View Full-Text
Keywords: personal norms; norm-activation theory; sustainability; dual-preferences model; semi-arid rangelands; commercial cattle farming personal norms; norm-activation theory; sustainability; dual-preferences model; semi-arid rangelands; commercial cattle farming

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Olbrich, R.; Quaas, M.F.; Baumgärtner, S. Personal Norms of Sustainability and Farm Management Behavior. Sustainability 2014, 6, 4990-5017.

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