Dissertation

Stakeholder Comments, Contributions, and Compliance:
Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment

Designing regulatory policy in the governance of environmental goods and ecosystem services presents two critical challenges for agri-environmental administrators: how to motivate individuals to pay for the provision of public environmental goods and how compliance with final rules can be enforced. Traditionally governed by command-and-control structures, insights from behavioral economics and environmental governance literature, however, suggest alternative mechanisms for driving pro-environmental decision-making among individuals. Of particular interest,  is how including stakeholders in the policymaking process may define individual preferences over environmental public goods.  Using a modified voluntary contribution mechanism (VCM), we investigate how allowing for stakeholder comments – where individuals provide unstructured feedback about their optimal regulatory policy – can effect individual contribution and compliance behavior over pure public goods. Results suggest that stakeholder comments may be effective at raising voluntary contributions to public goods. However, positive impacts on compliance rates are contingent on the existence of complementary enforcement structures.

Agricultural Innovation and Technology Adoption:
Strategic Delay Reconsidered

A dynamic model of technology adoption is developed to incorporate both uncertainty about the speed of agricultural innovation and the profitability of new technologies. We argue that high rates of innovation or low expected profit differentials over existing technologies may drive farmers to strategically delay adoption of new agricultural technologies. We develop a novel experiment to analyze farmer decision-making under various rates of agricultural innovation. Additionally,  we analyze how the rate of innovation influences farmer adoption decisions using data from the USDA Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) on U.S. farmer adoption of improved corn, wheat, and soybean varieties and precision agriculture technologies.

Farmer Valuation of Improved Bean Seed Technologies:
Experimental Auction Evidence from Tanzania

Convincing farmers of the value of new agricultural technologies is a precondition to widespread adoption and diffusion of productivity-enhancing improvements. Firms and governments often rely on lead-farmers to demonstrate innovative technologies in new markets. We argue that the structure and services provided through these demonstration activities may give rise to heterogeneous valuations of new technologies across farms and villages. Focusing on improved varieties of bean seed and a new seed treatment in Tanzania, we conducted a field survey combined with experimental auctions to analyze how lead-farmer demonstration efforts influences farmer willingness to pay (WTP) for new agricultural technologies. We also leverage differences in WTP between pre-treated and self-treated bean seed to better understand how farmers value some key local agro-dealer services.