Purdue Climate Change Research Center

Why do Farmers Adopt Offset-Eligible Practices? An Experimental Investigation of Framing Effects

Funded by the USDA

The proposal asks: To what degree do non-financial factors such as framing shape farmers’ decisions to adopt offset-eligible agricultural practices?  Because of agriculture’s significant role in anthropogenic climate change, it is critical to understand why farmers adopt practices eligible for carbon offset credits.  Based on recent work in economic, political, and agricultural decision-making, the primary hypothesis is that frames will significantly affect farmers’ interest in and adoption of offset-eligible practices.  In many cases, we believe this framing effect will be as strong as or stronger than the effect of a modest offset payment.  We will test our hypothesis using a large-scale field experiment exposing a national sample of 6,000 farmers to mail and e-mail treatments promoting conservation tillage.  Treatments will vary on two dimensions: the framing used to describe conservation tillage (including a control treatment with only basic information) and whether the treatment mentions offset payment opportunities, creating a 2 x 4 treatment matrix.  Tests for statistically significant differences in positive response rates between treatments will allow us to evaluate the role of framing effects and economic incentives on interest in and adoption of offset-eligible practices. 


  • Leigh Raymond
  • Ben Gramig
  • Rosalee Clawson

Contact Information

Purdue University
203 S. Martin Jischke Drive
MANN 105
West Lafayette, IN 47907