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Research

Center for Behavioral and Experimental Agri-Environmental Policy Research

CBEAR and its network of researchers applies insights from behavioral economics to better understand how and why people make decisions, and this research will ultimately help the USDA and its partners make programs better for farmers.

If you haven’t read about CBEAR’s 3 Big Initiatives, check them out HERE.

In addition to the 3 Big Initiatives, CBEAR has a range of prior and ongoing research projects.

Improving Voluntary Incentive Programs

Conservation on private farmlands in the US is largely encouraged via a patchwork of voluntary incentive programs implemented by federal and state agencies, as well as nongovernmental organizations and private sector actors. Similar programs exist in the EU. Billions of dollars are invested in these programs each year. Building on insights from the behavioral sciences, CBEAR tests innovative ideas to make these programs more cost-effective.

Example 1: Ag Values Project

Example 2: NOLS Project

Improving Conservation Communication and Outreach Programs

Most agri-environmental programs involve communication and outreach to farmers, ranchers, and private woodland owners. Building on insights from the behavioral sciences, CBEAR tests the prevailing wisdom about conservation outreach, as well as new innovative ideas for more effectively engaging agricultural producers. The goal is to identify how programs can be made more attractive to producers, more effective in encouraging the adoption of sound conservation practices and more likely to bring about the environmental improvements that everyone wants.

Example 1: Histosols

Example 2: NACD Project

Coming Soon:

  • List of CBEAR publications