This research project aims to explore the linkages between learning ability, responsiveness to advice and peer effects and examine their role in adoption choices. In the agricultural sector, the adoption of new technologies and production methods by farmers is pivotal for stimulating sustainable agricultural production, but farmers are often slow to adopt new technologies or farming methods. In order to adopt new technologies, learning and advice are important as innovations are often imperfectly known and farmers require information before deciding whether or not to adopt. Farmers generally learn or receive information from a number of sources, for example from extension services, learning by doing or their peers, which makes their adoption process complex and difficult to examine using field data. This project is using laboratory experiments to measure individuals’ learning ability and their responsiveness to formal as well as peer advice and is linking these measures to adoption choices. In February 2017, the research team held a number of experimental sessions at the Carines Computer Suite, NUI Galway, where they completed the data collection phase of the project. The outcomes from the project are expected to provide solutions for optimal learning support and information provision to farmers in order to better foster the uptake of new technologies.

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