Underlying motivational factors of farmers when acquiring arable land : a study in the region of Östergötland, Sweden

Detta är en Master-uppsats från SLU/Dept. of Economics

Sammanfattning: The area of arable land is decreasing every year as a result of expanding cities or road networks, a fact affecting the farmers’ business possibilities. The farms in Sweden are simultaneously getting fewer but larger in size, the higher survival rate among the larger farms indicating that growing means surviving. Furthermore, the price of arable land in Sweden has drastically increased over the past ten years, with Östergötland being one of the highest priced areas. However, recent literature regarding the acquisition of arable land discusses how theory focusing on monetary values fails to recognise farmers’ behaviour and values. Instead, recent literature suggests that non-pecuniary attributes, along with economic factors, influence farmers’ decision-making in different contexts. The present study was designed to determine the underlying motivational factors of farmers when acquiring arable land. The study contributes to the field by deriving from existing literature, such as the net present value, hedonic pricing and behavioural aspects, and criticizing its inadequacy. By doing so, the present study aims to create a more holistic picture of the matter. The study is based on Means-End Chain theory (MEC), a framework for describing and linking peoples’ values to their behaviour. The Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET) was used, a qualitative method previously never applied in this context, providing a new perspective and generating a unique result. The method enabled the farmers themselves to control what aspects were highlighted during the interviews and forced them deeper into their reasoning process. The cause-effect relationships between elements elicited were then coded and illustrated in a Hierarchal Value Map (HVM), constituting the result of present study. The main findings indicate how farmers’ underlying motivational factors cannot be characterized as either financial or non-financial when acquiring arable land. Rather, financial and non-financial factors are in this context closely linked. The most prominent value pronounced during the interviews was “Profitability”, closely followed by “Happiness” and “Well-being”. The interviewed farmers acquired the arable land essentially based on location, to increase farm size and to enable continued operation. These attributes were found to increased revenue and improve efficiency as well as the work situation. Using ZMET in the study was considered vital to assess the respondents’ reasoning processes and thereby the indepth information governing the result. To conclude, the result of the present study shows that there is a complex set of factors that motivates farmers in their decision to acquire arable land.

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