Our Mission: To bring together researchers, experts and policy makers interested in the use of economic experimental approaches to evaluate and improve the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The Research network on Economic Experiments for the CAP (REECAP) is a EU-wide informal consortium created in 2017. REECAP is open to those who wish to promote behavioural analysis and economic experimental designs for the ex-ante and ex-post evaluation of European agricultural policies.
The CAP toolbox for ex-ante policy assessment and ex-post evaluation studies includes mostly farm and market simulation models, statistical and econometric analysis of survey data, and descriptive case studies. Yet, the CAP has changed considerably, requiring adaptations of its evaluation toolbox. Policy-makers require more evidence-based policy recommendations. They pay more attention to cause-effect relationships of policies and to the additionality of their effects. Building an experimental situation or identifying a quasi-experimental situation for which outcomes can be compared to a proper counterfactual is a way to demonstrate and measure impact. Moreover, behavioral insights, often gained through lab and field economic experiments, have highlighted the need to understand better the decision context beyond the simple profit maximization assumption, in order to predict economic agents' responses to different policy instruments and to design efficient and cost-effective policies.
Economic experiments are at the forefront of these recent methodological developments. By economic experiments, we mean discrete choice experiments (DCEs), laboratory experiments, field experiments and randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Their main common feature is to rely on data that are generated in a controlled setting, with a randomized assignment of participants to treatment and control groups. In contrast to “naturally-occurring” observational data, experimental data are obtained through a rigorous experimental protocol. This allows for a clearer identification of impact and causality and results which are potentially replicable in different contexts or with different types of participants.
REECAP’s objective is to contribute to the constant improvement of European agricultural policies, by providing robust results on their net impact, but also by helping to design well adjusted and effective policy interventions, in the fields, amongst others, of income support, investment policies, risk management and agri-environment including climate change. REECAP can thus help to identify and evaluate policies which are well accepted by farmers, improve the effectiveness of public money spending and yield more satisfactory outcomes for food consumers and for citizens.
REECAP has four primary inter-related objectives:
- to promote research on agricultural policy using experimental and behavioral economics techniques, including the organization of joint experiments across various EU countries,
- to advocate the use of economic experiments for CAP evaluation, and provide evidence on the positive complementarity between experimental approaches and other evaluation tools,
- to create an information platform on research teams in Europe working on the design of innovative policy measures and conducting economic experiments for local or national authorities willing to evaluate their policies,
- to disseminate research results in a way that is more understandable by policy-makers.
REECAP is a new-born informal network. However, it has already contributed to expertise (Colen et al. 2015, Colen et al. 2016) and coordination activities with the financial support of the Joint Research Centre of the Europan Commission, the French Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), and the University of Angers (France). A first workshop has taken place on “Economic experiments for EU agricultural policy evaluation: methodological challenges” in Angers. The second workshop takes place from 26-to 27 September 2018 in Vienna.