Towards an improved understanding of farmers' behaviour: The integrative agent-centred (IAC) framework

An effective approach to research on farmers' behaviour is based on: i) an explicit and well-motivated behavioural theory; ii) an integrative approach; and iii) understanding feedback processes and dynamics. While current approaches may effectively tackle some of them, they often fail to combine them together. The paper presents the integrative agent-centred (IAC) framework, which aims at filling this gap. It functions in accordance with these three pillars and provides a conceptual structure to understand farmers' behaviour in agricultural systems. The IAC framework is agent-centred and supports the understanding of farmers' behavior consistently with the perspective of agricultural systems as complex social–ecological systems. It combines different behavioural drivers, bridges between micro and macro levels, and depicts a potentially varied model of human agency. The use of the framework in practice is illustrated through two studies on pesticide use among smallholders in Colombia. The examples show how the framework can be implemented to derive policy implications to foster a transition towards more sustainable agricultural practices. The paper finally suggests that the framework can support different research designs for the study of agents' behaviour in agricultural and social–ecological systems.

Published in:
Ecological Economics, 69, 12, 2323-2333

 Record created 2018-02-11, last modified 2020-10-24

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