Exploring the role of social interactions in farmers’ adoption of ag-environmental schemes using integrated data and agent-based modelling

Please note the deadline for this opportunity has now passed and we will not be accepting further applications. 

This project aims to explore the role of social interactions among farmers in the adoption of post-Brexit agri-environmental schemes using integrated data and agent-based modelling. There are contested views and scarce empirical evidence to suggest how important are social interactions between farmers (i.e. informal advice and/or mimicry) on policy adaptation, diffusion of innovation and adoption of new practices. A plausible assumption is that in regions (and agricultural sectors) wherein social cohesion and interaction is stronger, farmers will adapt quicker to the post-Brexit policy transition. On the other hand, where farmers are more isolated, targeted effort including free advisory services would be necessary to prevent stagnation and falling out of those farming communities behind the adoption curve in other parts of the country.

The project will have several components:

First, the project will explore and integrate several individual-level data uniquely provided by DEFRA, the project partner, and conduct a spatio-temporal analysis on the integrated data to study the adoption patterns of ag-environmental schemes.

Second, the project will look at Twitter and/or other social media data, starting from the official accounts of some key players, and use text analysis methods to understand sentiments and viewpoints among farmers. These data will provide important information on farmer interactions and networks that will complement the survey data provided by DEFRA.

Finally, the project will develop a social interaction module using empirical results from part I. The new integrated model will be used to predict the adoption rate of ag-environmental schemes in England in the post-Brexit era.

Project reference: LE61

Application deadline: 25th April 2022

*To apply for this project, candidates must be a UK citizen, EU citizen with indefinite right to remain or have a valid working visa for the UK. You must be able to prove residency in the UK for at least three consecutive years, to facilitate access to Defra data. Successful applicant will need to undergo a criminal background check to work with Defra and prior convictions or delinquencies may disqualify applicants*

How to apply