A-4/14 The influence of farmer demographic characteristics on environmental behaviour: A review

Many agricultural studies have observed a relationship between farmer demographic characteristics and environmental behaviours. These relationships are frequently employed in the construction of models, the identification of farmer types, or as part of more descriptive analyses aimed at understanding farmers' environmental behaviour. However, they have also often been found to be inconsistent or contradictory. Although a considerable body of literature has built up around the subject area, research has a tendency to focus on factors such as the direction, strength and consistency of the relationship – leaving the issue of causality largely to speculation. This review addresses this gap by reviewing literature on 4 key demographic variables: age, experience, education, and gender for hypothesised causal links. Overall the review indicates that the issue of causality is a complex one. Inconsistent relationships can be attributed to the presence of multiple causal pathways, the role of scheme factors in determining which pathway is important, inadequately specified measurements of demographic characteristics, and the treatment of non-linear causalities as linear. In addition, all demographic characteristics were perceived to be influenced (to varying extents) by cultural-historical patterns leading to cohort effects or socialised differences in the relationship with environmental behaviour. The paper concludes that more work is required on the issue of causality.

Journal of Environmental Management, 135(2014):19-26

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