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A Game-Based Approach to Exploring Gender Differences in Smallholder Decisions to Change Farming Practices: White Rice Production in Laos

Silva Larson (), Anne (Giger)-Dray (), Tina Cornioley (), Manithaythip Thephavanh (), Phomma Thammavong (), Sisavan Vorlasan (), John G. Connell (), Magnus Moglia (), Peter Case (), Kim Alexander () and Pascal Perez ()
Additional contact information
Silva Larson: School of Science and Engineering, University of Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, QLD 4556, Australia
Anne (Giger)-Dray: Forest Management and Development Group (ForDev), Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems, ETH Zürich, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Tina Cornioley: Forest Management and Development Group (ForDev), Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems, ETH Zürich, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Manithaythip Thephavanh: School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5064, Australia
Phomma Thammavong: Faculty of Agriculture, National University of Laos, Nabong Campus, Pakxap-Mai Village, Xaythany District, Vientiane Capital P.O. Box 7322, Laos
Sisavan Vorlasan: Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office, Thameung Village 13000, Kaysone Phomvihane District, Savannakhet Province, Laos
John G. Connell: College of Business, Law and Governance, James Cook University, Douglas, QLD 4811, Australia
Magnus Moglia: Center for Urban Transitions, Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, VIC 3122, Australia
Peter Case: College of Business, Law and Governance, James Cook University, Douglas, QLD 4811, Australia
Pascal Perez: SMART Infrastructure Facility, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, University of Wollongong, Northfields Av, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 16, 1-22

Abstract: What influences farmers’ decisions to adopt agricultural technologies is an important question for international agricultural research projects. There are often interpersonal differences between women and men that influence the adoption of decisions and behaviours, but few studies in the literature focus on these factors. We describe a game-based approach to explore decision-making processes underpinning the adoption of new farming technologies and practices in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Sowing a different rice variety is the tailored technology. The game explored adoption behaviours influencing decisions on transitioning from growing glutinous rice, a traditional variety preferred for consumption, to “white” rice for commercial export to international markets. We conducted separate game-workshops with 36 women and 36 men in 4 villages of southern Laos that were transitioning from subsistence to commercial smallholder production. The gaming exposed various possible behaviours and decisions that women and men considered. Access to resources, both assets and information, was equal for all players, yet women were found to adopt new rice varieties more readily than men and to engage in cooperative behaviours in the game situation. The study highlighted the need for further gender-sensitive research into cooperation among women in the agricultural context—an understanding beneficial for countries and regions undergoing agricultural transition.

Keywords: gender; rural development; role-playing game; Laos; adoption; agrarian transition: Companion Modelling (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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