Staying rural and the status quo bias – The role of the status quo bias in the perpetuation of farm work and remaining in situ – exemplified with data from Southeast Europe
Livelihoods in rural areas
2023 - 2025
Agricultural sector transformation and a decrease in agricultural employment are often accompanied by rural out-migration. However, the majority of farmers tend to stay local and remain immobile. The reasons why people stay on their farms and in their rural environment despite many incentives to migrate have been largely ignored in the literature so far. The project therefore focuses on the reasons why farmers decide to continue their farms and stay put. Theoretically, the project is based on the so called ‘status quo bias’ , which describes an (exaggerated) preference for the current state. A descriptive status quo model, based on the theory of subjective expected utility (SEU), supports the empirical analyses of the project. Innovative choice experiments are used to operationalise the status quo bias. For a deeper understanding of the cognitive elements that guide individual decisions, insights from the theory of planned behaviour are used and implemented with structural equation models.