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Ecological Economics
88, 2013; Pages: 11 - 19

Understanding the uptake of organic farming: Accounting for heterogeneities among Irish farmers

Doris Läpple, Hugh Kelley

Department of Economics, J. E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.


This paper examines the decisions of Irish farmers to convert to organic farming by applying the theory of planned behaviour to control for social influence and technical constraints. Cluster analysis and principal component analysis are utilised to account for sample heterogeneity and to identify heterogeneities in farmer beliefs regarding adoption of organic methods. The results indicate that the impact of economic incentives and technical barriers varies, while social acceptance of organic farming constrains adoption. These findings suggest that policy incentives mainly based on subsidy payments may be insufficient to increase the organic sector in the presence of social and technical barriers.

Keywords: Organic farming; Principal component analysis; Theory of planned behaviour; Decision making



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