Experimental Economics Workshops Begin with SERPN Farmers

Sara Hernandez Consulting, coordinator of the Normandy pilot sites, in conjunction with SERPN, organized an experimental economics workshop for farmers engaged in water quality improvement programs on the territory of the SERPN on June 4th, 2018.

These experimental economics tools are often used to analyse the strategic behaviour of actors deals with public policy issues. In our case, these tools are developed to facilitate dialogue with the farmers and to help define the modalities of setting up a financial mechanism, as PES. The 14 farmers attending first listened to a presentation outlining the results of their actions in reducing nitrate concentrations in the Tremblay catchment area, through the "Winter Incoming N Balance" scheme led by the SERPN in 2017. Then, they engaged in the co-construction of a PES-type financial mechanism that would suit the socio-economic setting of the catchment area.

Through a series of game rounds, farmers had to make decisions on the number of hectares of plant cover in a changing decision-making context to test the viability of an incentive and the roles of cooperation in achieving a common goal of protecting the water resource. The first results interpreted show that the financial incentive is not a sufficient condition to justify the voluntary approach of adhering to actions to protect of the water resource. However, intencive is necessary when it comes to perpetuate these actions and to encourage other farmers to join in a territorial dynamic. The results also indicated that governance is necessary in the collective effort if the effects of individual opportunism are to be avoided.

This workshop was the first of three, which will continue with a preparation workshop on the modalities of operation and a workshop to determine the value of the PSE through the auction system.