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Bridging behavioural factors and standard bio-economic modelling in an agent-based modelling framework

Agent-based models are important tools for simulating farmers’ behaviour in response to changing environmental, economic or institutional conditions and policies. This article introduces an agent-based modelling approach that combines behavioural factors with standard bio-economic modelling of agricultural production. More specifically, our framework integrates the cumulative prospect theory and social interactions with constrained optimisation decisions in agricultural production. We apply our modelling approach to an exemplary bio-economic model on the assessment of weed control decisions. Results show the effects of heterogeneous farm decision-making and social networks on mechanical weed control and herbicide use. This framework provides a generic and conceptually sound approach to improve the scope for representing farmers’ decision-making and allows the simulation of their decisions and recent advances in behavioural economics to be aligned with existing bio-economic models of agricultural systems.