Guglielmo Zappalà, doctoral student at Paris School of Economics.
Do subjective perceptions and accuracy shape adaptation to climate change? Evidence from Bangladesh
This paper examines how subjective perceptions of climate change of rural households in Bangladesh influence their irrigation adaptive decisions. Using a unique national-representative panel dataset of farmers in Bangladesh, I study the effect of subjective perceptions on the use of different types of irrigation in diverse growing seasons. I formalize a theoretical framework in which subjective perceptions depend on the reference environment agents are exposed to, and test the implications. I also define and empirically validate the hypothesis that farmers are subject to availability bias, finding that self-reported recent drought events lead to overreaction in the use of irrigation on the cultivable land, with the effect vanishing after one period. By comparing farmers’ recollection of self-reported drought events and objectively recorded events, I find that the accuracy of farmers explains differences in the irrigation adaptive decisions, with different reactions to under and overestimation of these events. A detailed comprehension of farmers’ perceptions of climate change and adaptation strategies can significantly contribute to the design of adequate policies for agricultural security.
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