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Free Content Planned intentions versus actual behaviour: assessing the reliability of intention surveys in predicting farmers’ production levels post decoupling

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This paper assesses the reliability of intentions surveys in accurately predicting farmers’ production decisions following decoupling. Two samples of Irish cattle and sheep farms that participated in intentions surveys in 2004 and 2006, asked about their intended production 3 years hence (2007 and 2009), are revisited and their subsequent production decisions examined. Farmers were questioned about their production plans post decoupling and their subsequent production decisions were also observed. The analysis reveals that on aggregate farmers’ production intentions were more accurate in the first than the second survey, i.e. the one conducted before decoupling was introduced. The second survey tended to be characterised by optimism where farmers were more likely to overestimate their future production levels. At an individual level only about half of all respondents acted according to their earlier stated intentions. The majority of the remainder tended to be optimistic, i.e. over estimating their future production levels. Farms are classified into three groups; those that are accurate, those initially overestimating their future production (optimistic) and those underestimating their future production (pessimistic). The multinomial logit model suggests that for the most part the intention-behaviour gap relating to production intentions and behaviour post decoupling was influenced by very few farm and farmer characteristics that were available through the FADN database.

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Keywords: Decoupling; Intentions Surveys; Multinomial Logit model

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2016

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