• Chile;
  • contingent valuation;
  • protection motivation theory;
  • response efficacy;
  • soil conservation;
  • willingness-to-pay


With low adoption rates of soil conservation measures (SCM) widespread, we examine determinants of current and potential future adoption in the ‘Secano Costero’ region of Central Chile. Randomly selected farmers (N = 140) spent an equivalent of 48 000 CLP/year (∼79 US$) on SCM. Contingent valuation of a hypothesized soil conservation programme revealed a willingness-to-pay of 30 610 CLP/year (∼50·4 US$) for future adoption. Social-psychology variables from Protection Motivation Theory (PMT; response efficacy, perceived barriers) were used to predict current and potential future adoption. Current spending on SCM is influenced by perceptions of (1) erosion problem severity, (2) response efficacy of SCM, (3) farming problems and (4) barriers (lack of labour and draught animals). In addition, farm size and education were significant predictors. Willingness-to-pay for future adoption of SCM is influenced by farmer perception of (1) response efficacy of SCM, and (2) community support to the programme as well as farm size, age and gender. Our results suggest that formal psychometric scale development for social-psychology predictors for the adoption of SCM, e.g. based on PMT, is a promising avenue for the analysis of soil conservation decisions. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.