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Quelles conditions à l’acceptation d’un dispositif incitatif de politique publique en agriculture ?

By Jean-Pierre Del Corso, Geneviève Nguyen and Charilaos Képhaliacos


This article focuses on a French particular public agro-environmental policy scheme, called mesures agro-environnementales territorialisées - Directive cadre sur l’Eau (Water Territorialized Agroenvironmental Measures / MAET-DCE). Launched in 2007 to meet the European Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC, these measures are voluntary and aim to encourage farmers to adopt good farming practices in order to protect water. However, it is difficult to have farmers to sign up for changes in their practices. Given this fact, our study aims to show that, as a technical and institutional innovation, the MAET-DCE will be effective in terms of water quality improvement only if it becomes socially acceptable by the farmers. The concept of legitimity helps to analyze the conditions necessary to the acceptability of this policy scheme. Proven as relatively successful, the experience of a MAET-DCE launched in the Midi-Pyrénées Region is used as a case study. From a conceptual point of view, the contributions of authors, such as Amartya Sen, Daniel Bromley and Arild Vatn, help to better understand how actors can collectively update their believes and the “sufficient reasons” for action, and how, by doing so, they can legitimize a change in farming practices recommended by public policy. Consistently with the conceptual framework, we develop a methodology combining, on the one hand, an analysis of the institutional process underlying the MAET-DCE setting, and on the other hand, a comparative analysis of the believes hold by the farmers who contracted the MAET and those of the farmers who did not want to contract the MAET. These beliefs are highlighted through the direct observation of farming practices and a textual analysis of the discourse of farmers and agricultural advisers

Topics: water territorialized agroenvironnemental measures, water, legitimacy, beliefs, Environmental sciences, GE1-350
Publisher: Éditions en environnement VertigO
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.4000/vertigo.15252
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