[PhD’s corner] Margaux Lapierre : Pesticide use reduction, risks and value of digital information in agriculture

Margaux Lapierre is one of the #DigitAg cofunded PhDs


Pesticide use reduction, risks and value of digital information in agriculture

  • Start Date: 1st October 2020
  • University: Université de Montpellier – MUSE Montpellier Université d’Excellence
  • PhD School: Ecole Doctorale d’Economie Gestion de Montpellier (EDEG)
  • Field(s): Economics
  • Doctoral Thesis Advisor: Douadia Bougherara, CEE-M, Inrae – Marc Willinger, CEE-M, Université de Montpellier
  • Co-supervisors : Sophie Thoyer, CEE-M, Inrae – François Brun, Acta – Emmanuelle Gourdain, Arvalis
  • Funding: Université de Montpellier
  • #DigitAg: Cofunded thesis – Axis1: TIC and rural societies, Axis 3: Sensors and data acquisition/processing, Axis 6: Multiscale modelling and simulation – Challenge 3: ICT and crop protection, Challenge 5: ICT and new farm advisory services

Keywords: Pesticide use, decision-support tools, sensors, risk aversion, risk perception, information value

Abstract: The many tools to support farmers’ decision to reduce pesticide use have often a low degree of adoption. Our hypothesis is that they are designed without taking into account farmers’ risk preferences and risk perceptions. We focus on the following question: how to improve our understanding of these preferences and to measure the value of new information (provided by sensors of digital agriculture) in order to design decision making tools that are more efficient and better fitted to farmers’ needs at the individual but also at the territory level? The question will be addressed in three steps using at least two contrasted case studies. (1) To define and measure farmers’ risk perceptions. In a multidisciplinary approach, we will characterize the risks associated with pesticides use reduction and consider a “multi-risk” approach. We will also elicit farmers’ perceptions and risk preferences for these risks using experimental economics methods on samples of farmers (field experiments); (2) To measure the value of digital information for farmers. We will develop a theoretical model of the determinants (socioeconomic, agronomic, ecological) of the value of information for farmers in the specific case of digital information decision making tools. We will then use experimental and/or statistical approaches to understand how new digital information can improve the value of the information provided by decision making tools; (3) Communicating risk using digital information decision making tools. We will determine how to optimally build and communicate information to users of digital information decision tools. Behavioral economics will be used. The results will help improve decision modelling and decision making tool design, and help orientate information collection, recording, tracking and sharing. Finally, from a more generic viewpoint, the thesis will allow an economic analysis of the issues raised by information platforms such as property rights issues (private/public) and its relationship with agricultural advice in general.

Contact: margaux.lapierre [AT] supagro.fr – Phone: 04 99 61 28 71

Communications /Papers:

Bougherara, D., Lapierre, M., Sauquet, A., Preget, R., (2020). Do farmers favor increasing, decreasing, or stable payments in Agri-Environmental Schemes? CEE-M Working Papers, WP 2020-10. 44 p.

Lapierre, M., Sauquet, A., Subervie, J. (2019). Improving farm environmental performance through technical assistance: empirical evidence from pesticide use. CEE-M Working Papers, WP 2019-15. 36 p.

Impact of the DEPHY network on pesticides use : evidence from French vineyards, Mémoire de fin d’études, 2018, 51 p.