Categorising farming values as economic, conservation and lifestyle

Darryl Maybery, Lin Crase, Chris Gullifer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)


Degradation of land and water is currently one of Australia's most important environmental, social and economic issues. Economic instruments and common good interventions represent two broad policy genre that have been applied to induce change in on-farm land stewardship in response to this issue. Unfortunately, both policies have considered landholders to be homogenous and have thus failed to adequately 'target' the states' response. By way of contrast, the health psychology and marketing literatures suggest that alternate within-landholder differences may be stimulated by different policy messages. This study sought to determine if the dichotomy between economic and common good could be found within the goals and objectives that farmers have for their landholdings. Focus interviews, focus groups and item piloting were used to develop 15 items reflecting economic, conservation and lifestyle farming values. A principal component analysis of survey data from 552 Australian farmers showed support for three separate factors. The economic factor had a weak correlation with the conservation and lifestyle factors and the latter were moderately correlated. These findings are important as they show that farmer's values can be classified into three distinct groups that might potentially be used to formulate more effective land conservation policies. Future research could utilise these value categories when developing attitude items and examine if landholders with different values respond differently to the dichotomous policy stimuli.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-72
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Economic Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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