Scrutinizing the impact of policy instruments on adoption of agricultural conservation practices using Bayesian expert models

Angela J. Dean, Rachel Eberhard, Umberto Baresi, Anthea Coggan, Felicity Deane, Evan Hamman, Kate J. Helmstedt, Barton Loechel, Diane Jarvis, Helen Mayfield, Lillian Stevens, Bruce Taylor, Karen Vella

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

Abstract

Policy instruments—such as regulation, financial incentives, and agricultural extension—are commonly applied by governments to promote sustainable agricultural practices and tackle ecosystem degradation. Despite substantial investment, little data are available to gauge the impact of evolving policy mixes. We constructed a Bayesian network model to explore relationships between policy instruments, contextual factors, and adoption. Applying a series of scenarios, we present examples of how different instruments influence adoption and how their effectiveness is shaped by contextual factors. Scenarios highlight that the effect of policy instruments is often modest, and constrained by diverse practice and population characteristics. These findings allow us to reflect on the role of policy instruments, and the conditions necessary to support practice change. For example, our findings raise questions about the role of financial benefits versus financial capacity, and highlight the potential importance of concepts such as mental bandwidth in shaping both motivation and capacity to adopt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalConservation Letters
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes

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