Nudging farmers toward the adoption of direct selling in Slovenia

Last registered on April 26, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Nudging farmers toward the adoption of direct selling in Slovenia
Initial registration date
April 22, 2024

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
April 26, 2024, 12:03 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


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Primary Investigator

University of Bologna

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Bologna
PI Affiliation
University of Bologna
PI Affiliation
University of Bologna
PI Affiliation
University of Bologna

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The sustainability of agrifood systems is one of the major contemporary challenges. In this context, the role of the primary sector is crucial in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring sufficient and affordable quality food for the population.
The sustainability of the agricultural sector can be promoted through the development of environmental policies that adopt different types of instruments to encourage agricultural producers to adopt production practices that are sustainable in environmental, social and economic terms. Among these tools, interventions that adopt a behavioral approach, particularly those based on nudging, play an increasingly important role in promoting sustainable behaviors (Blumenthal-Barby and Burroughs, 2012; Ferrari et al, 2019).
Nudging is defined as an intervention based on a choice architecture design that predictably modifies an individual's behavior without limiting his or her ability to make alternative choices and without providing special economic incentives (Thaler, Sunstein, 2008).
The concept behind nudging is to exploit the inner irrationality of human beings, which leads them to make choices that are often not completely rational due to the influence of cognitive biases (Tversky, Kahneman, 1974; Thaler, Sunstein, 2008). Building on this concept, it is possible to influence choices by adopting interventions that rely, for example, on the role of properly directed information and the influence of social norms (injunctive norms and subjective norms) on individuals' decisions (Akerlof, 2002; Della Vigna 2009).
The purpose of the research is to assess the impact of an information nudging intervention on the adoption of direct selling by a representative sample of small farms operating in Sloveniaor their intention to adopt the practice.
The hypothesis at the base of this study is that specific and properly targeted information, combined with the role of social norms, can either influence the adoption by small farmers of direct selling, which can increase the environmental, economic and social sustainability of their activities, or their intention to adopt this practice, which can be considered as a predictor of actual adoption.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Masotti, Matteo et al. 2024. "Nudging farmers toward the adoption of direct selling in Slovenia." AEA RCT Registry. April 26.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


The research uses a randomized controlled trial (randomized control trial) on a representative sample of 200-500 farmers. The research aims to test the impact of information-based interventions on farmers' intention to implement sustainable production practices, adopting an approach based on nudging theory (Thaler, Sunstein 2008; Ferrari et al, 2019; Howley, Ocean, 2022).
The nudging intervention will be developed based on the theoretical frameworks RESET -Regulation, Economic incentives, Social norms, Education and communication, Tools (Lam et al, 2017) and COM-b – Capabilities, Opportunity, Motivation, behavior (Michie, 2011)-proposing a nudging intervention based on the role of education and communication and social norms to promote the adoption of direct selling.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
adoption by farmers of direct selling practices; intention of farmers to adopt direct selling practices
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The study will be conducted in 3 phases

Phase 1: Producers involved in the research will be asked to complete a questionnaire including closed-ended questions designed to investigate: socio-demographic variables of the farmer (age, gender, income class, educational level) and farm characteristics (size, type of production and form of ownership, labor force employed); agricultural production techniques currently adopted on the farm; respondent's intention to adopt direct selling.

Step 2: the sample of farmers will be randomly divided into two groups, treatment group and control group. The treatment group will be offered informational materials regarding the sustainability potential of direct selling (Education and communication element) and the number of farmers already adopting these practices (Social norms element). The control group will be provided with a neutral message.

Step 3: Members of the sample will be asked to complete a questionnaire containing a number of closed-ended questions intended to investigate whether and how much their intention to adopt direct selling has changed
Once the questionnaire is completed, farmers assigned to the control group will be provided with the information sent in Phase 2 to members of the treatment group to reduce information disparities among participants.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
200-500 farmers
Sample size: planned number of observations
200-500 farmers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
100-250 farmers control, 100-250 treatment with education+social pressure messages
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number