The Center for Behavioral & Experimental Agri-Environmental Research (CBEAR) was established in 2014, funded through competitive grants from the USDA Economic Research Service (2014-2019) and from the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (2019-2023). CBEAR works with program administrators at the USDA and its partners to incorporate behavioral insights into program designs. CBEAR has twice been named a USDA Center of Excellence.
Why Behavioral Science?
Insights from the behavioral sciences are revolutionizing the way in which government programs are designed and delivered, and we are bringing this revolution to agri-environmental programs. A “test, learn, adapt” strategy helps programs be their best, achieve greater levels of program participation and satisfaction, and achieve improved environmental outcomes, all while reducing costs.
Enhancing the Evidence Base
To create evidence-based programs, CBEAR has been conducting randomized field experiments across the US. On the map below, we highlight the zip codes where CBEAR field experiments have generated evidence that can make agri-environmental programs more cost-effective.
To make agri-environmental programs perform better, CBEAR aims to accomplish four objectives:
DEVELOP EVIDENCE-BASED POLICY RELEVANT TO VOLUNTARY AGRI-ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS
CBEAR coordinates with program administrators, policy makers and other decision makers to incorporate behavioral insights and experimental designs into emerging and existing agri-environmental programs. By plugging directly into these programs, CBEAR identifies how applications of behavioral science can be used to improve agri-environmental programs.
CONDUCT BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS RESEARCH
To expand the evidence base for agri-environmental policy, CBEAR conducts lab and field experiments to test hypotheses from the behavioral sciences. These experiments include randomized controlled trials embedded within USDA and partner programs.
EXPAND AND ENHANCE THE RESEARCH BASE
CBEAR expands and enhances the human capital of scholars and practitioners for generating high-quality evidence about improving agricultural programs. CBEAR also trains young scholars in this emerging field.
To help design better agri-environmental programs, CBEAR packages
the insights that it and other researchers develop and shares this information with program administrators, policy makers and the media.