UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Simplistic understandings of farmer motivations could undermine the environmental potential of the common agricultural policy

Brown, C; Kovács, E; Herzon, I; Villamayor-Tomas, S; Albizua, A; Galanaki, A; Grammatikopoulou, I; ... Zinngrebe, Y; + view all (2021) Simplistic understandings of farmer motivations could undermine the environmental potential of the common agricultural policy. Land Use Policy , 101 , Article 105136. 10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.105136. Green open access

[thumbnail of Brown et al 2020 LUP accepted article.pdf]
Preview
Text
Brown et al 2020 LUP accepted article.pdf - Accepted version

Download (368kB) | Preview

Abstract

The European Union Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has failed to achieve its aim of preserving European farmland biodiversity, despite massive investment in subsidies to incentivise environmentally-beneficial farming practices. This failure calls into question the design of the subsidy schemes, which are intended to either function as a safety net and make farming profitable or compensate farmers for costs and loss of income while undertaking environmental management. In this study, we assess whether the design of environmental payments in the CAP reflects current knowledge about farmers’ decision-making as found in the research literature. We do so on the basis of a comprehensive literature review on farmers’ uptake of agri-environmental management practices over the past 10 years and interviews specifically focused on Ecological Focus Areas with policy-makers, advisors and farmers in seven European countries. We find that economic and structural factors are the most commonly-identified determinants of farmers’ adoption of environmental management practices in the literature and in interviews. However, the literature suggests that these are complemented by – and partially dependent on – a broad range of social, attitudinal and other contextual factors that are not recognised in interview responses or, potentially, in policy design. The relatively simplistic conceptualisation of farmer behaviour that underlies some aspects of policy design may hamper the effectiveness of environmental payments in the CAP by over-emphasising economic considerations, potentially corroding farmer attitudes to policy and environmental objectives. We conclude that an urgent redesign of agricultural subsidies is needed to better align them with the economic, social and environmental factors affecting farmer decision-making in a complex production climate, and therefore to maximise potential environmental benefits.

Type: Article
Title: Simplistic understandings of farmer motivations could undermine the environmental potential of the common agricultural policy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.105136
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.105136
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Agri-environment; farmer decision-making; environmental payments; Ecological Focus Areas; Greening; Common Agricultural Policy
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10139024
Downloads since deposit
5Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item