Individual differences matter. Personality traits and preferences in smallholders' farm management


Individual differences in personality traits and economic preferences have been found to be powerful in explaining key labour market success. Yet, much of their impact on agricultural production decisions in the rural context remains unclear. This thesis aims to provide more insights into the contribution of personality traits and economic preferences to smallholders’ economic decisions in agricultural production and farm management, using available data sets from China. It starts with an investigation of smallholders’ perception of land tenure security from perspectives of both cognitive-consequentialist and risk-as-feelings. The subsequent two chapters centre on the roles of personality traits and preferences in two important input decisions regarding smallholders’ agricultural production: land renting and fertilizer use. This thesis further examines if human personality has direct impact on smallholder farmers’ overall farm management performance. Unravelling the mysterious role that personality traits play in smallholder farmers’ decision-making processes is vital for designing policies aimed at increasing agricultural production and alleviating rural poverty.