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

by Arthur Bragança 1,2,*,† and Avery Simon Cohn 3,*,†
1
Núcleo de Avaliação de Políticas Climáticas, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), R. Marquês de São Vicente, 225-Gávea, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22451-900, Brazil
2
Climate Policy Initiative, Estrada da Gávea, 50, Gávea, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22451-263, Brazil
3
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, 150 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02111, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: 4 December 2018 / Revised: 24 December 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2019 / Published: 16 January 2019
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: lab-in-the-field experiment; agricultural intensification; cattle pasture; cropland; household survey; land use change lab-in-the-field experiment; agricultural intensification; cattle pasture; cropland; household survey; land use change
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Bragança, A.; Cohn, A.S. Predicting Intensification on the Brazilian Agricultural Frontier: Combining Evidence from Lab-In-The-Field Experiments and Household Surveys. Land 2019, 8, 21.

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