Research

Publications

Challenges in Recruiting U.S. Farmers for Policy-Relevant Economic Field Experiments (link)
Collin Weigel, Laura A. Paul, Paul J. Ferraro, and Kent D. Messer
Applied Economics Policy and Perspectives 2020

To develop evidence‐based agricultural policies, researchers increasingly use insights from economic field experiments. These insights are often limited by the challenges of recruiting large and representative samples of farmers. To improve the effectiveness and cost efficiency of farmer recruitment, researchers should apply the same experimental methods to the recruitment process that they apply to their main research questions. Here we experimentally evaluate ten recruiting strategies in two large‐scale, high stakes experiments. We find that monetary incentives and reminders are effective, but costly. Costless strategies, such as prominently citing a well‐known institution as the sponsor, had positive but small, effects on recruitment.

Under Review

Demand for an Environmental Public Good in the Time of COVID-19: A Statewide Water Quality Referendum
George Parsons, Laura Paul, and Kent Messer
Under Review

Due to COVID-19, many households faced new hardships due to a rapid increase in unemployment, an uncertain economic future, and a forced separation from friends and loved ones. Yet, during this same time period, an unprecedented number of people recreated outside — as it was one of the few activities still permitted. How these various experiences impact the public’s willing to pay for environmental public goods is unknown. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we conducted a stated preference survey and found that while nearly 90% of participants report experiencing hardship, only 3% said it reduced their willingness to pay for water quality improvements and the aggregate WTP remained unchanged.

Conditional and Unconditional Yield Gains from Drought-Tolerant Maize and the Economic Implications for Farmers in Southern and Eastern Africa
Laura Paul
Under Review

This paper assesses the return to DT maize using four years of data from on-farm yield trials and high-resolution precipitation data (10-day measurements at a 0.05° resolution) in southern Africa to assess claims of the DT maize advantage. On farms (rather than controlled trials) DT maize yield slightly exceeds that of other varieties: 7% higher yields on average, and 15% higher yields under moderate drought stress with additional heterogeneity in returns across high and low performing farms. For low-performing farms, a net loss of $10/ha of DT maize increases to a net gain of $30/ha in a drought year.

Working Papers

Nudge or Sludge? An Experimental Game Illustrating How Misunderstood Scientific Information Can Change Consumer Behavior
Laura Paul, Maik Kecinski, Kent Messer, and Olesya Savchenko

Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept Measures Produce Consistent Marginal Effects and Evidence of the Framing Effect
Tongzhe Li, Laura Paul, Kent D. Messer, and Harry Kaiser

Bundling Stress Tolerant Seeds and Insurance for Resilient Small-scale Agriculture: Impacts and the Challenge of Learning about Technologies with Stochastic Benefits
Steve Boucher, Michael Carter, Jon Einar Flatnes, Travis Lybbert, Jonathan Malacarne, Paswel Marenya, and Laura Paul

Mapping Maize area in Tanzania: a Comparison of MODIS, Landsat 8, Sentinel-1 and -2, and Planet Satellite Data
Kate Tiedeman, Aniruddha Ghosh, Laura Paul, and Robert J Hijmans

Lessons from the Conservation Literature and their Application to Coastal Residential Property Buyout
Laura Paul, Christina McGranaghan, Polina Divena, A.R. Siders, Leah Palm-Forster, and Kent Messer

Residential and Individual Behaviors: Interventions and Adoption of Practices to Improve Local Water Quality
Laura Paul, Kacey Wetzel, and Jana Davis

In Progress

Conservation Auction Behavior: Field Experimental Evidence on Anchoring, Defaults and Information in the Conservation Reserve Program
Steven Wallander, Laura Paul, Rich Iovanna, Paul Ferraro, and Kent Messer

Experimental Evidence on Efficiency of Coastal Residential Property Buyout Mechanisms
Laura Paul, Christina McGranaghan, Polina Divena, A.R. Siders, Leah Palm-Forster, and Kent Messer

Home Septic System Maintenance: A Framed Field Experiment on Environmental Literacy and Homeowner Behavior Impacts on Local Water Quality
Laura Paul, and Kent Messer

Experimental Evidence on Undergraduate Recruitment: Lessons from Creating a Subject Pool Registry

Laura Paul, Leah Palm-Forster, and Kent Messer