Risque, temps et adoption des cultures pérennes énergétiques : exemple du cas français

Abstract : The objective of the thesis was to identify the determinants of the adoption of perennial energy crops by farmers, focusing on risk and time issues. The analysis is based on the case of miscanthus (Miscanthus giganteus) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in France, but it is potentially generalizable to other perennial crops. Public and private decisions relevant for enhancing the development of those crops are discussed. In the first essay, I examine the impact of risk and time on the optimal area of miscanthus and switchgrass in a typical grain farm of the Centre region. I go beyond the usual net present value calculation by taking into account aversion to risk and intertemporal fluctuations through the expected utility and discounted utility frameworks. I find that the two perennial crops result to be, on average, less profitable than the usual rape/wheat/barley rotation. Nevertheless, they can be highly competitive as diversification crops when appropriate contracts are offered tofarmers. The second, third and fourth essays use the data from a survey and a field experiment that I conducted on 111 French farmers from Bourgogne who had faced the choice of whether to grow miscanthus. In the second essay, I describe miscanthus production in Bourgogne. On the one hand, I show that miscanthus is mostly grown on marginal plots where traditional land uses are unprofitable. On the other hand, I show that farmers perceive miscanthus as globally less risky than wheat,but some specific, unlikely and extremely unfavorable outcomes remain cause of concern. In the third essay, I estimate farmers' risk preferences from the experimental dataset. I apply a structural estimation method to a prospect theory decision model. Then, I review some of the implications of this theoretical framework for agricultural economists. Our estimations show that prospect theory explains our data more fully than the standard expected utility theory. Indeed, farmers are loss averse and distort probabilities so as to overweight extreme events. In the fourth essay, I investigate the relationship between miscanthus adoption and the characteristics of farmers and farms, in particular farmers' individual risk and time preferences. The latter are experimental measures obtained in the prospect theory and hyberbolic discounting frameworks respectively. Our results suggest that adoption probability depends on farmers' degree of loss aversion and probability weighting. However, the impact of these two factors varies with land type and farmers' reference point. In addition, the proportion of low-profitability land on the farm increases adoption probability, while the presence of cattle has the opposite effect.
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Géraldine Bocqueho. Risque, temps et adoption des cultures pérennes énergétiques : exemple du cas français. Sciences agricoles. AgroParisTech, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012AGPT0051⟩. ⟨pastel-00966877⟩

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