Master’s Thesis Defense - Jean Francois Regis, Nisengwe - May 10

Date: May 10, 2016
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Room 130, Natural Resources

Risk Perceptions, Attitudes and Climate Change Adaptation Behaviors: A case of farmers in Nyabihu District, Rwanda

A Master’s Thesis Defense


Jean Francois Regis, Nisengwe

May 10, 2016

2 p.m.

130 Natural Resources Building



Both risk perception and risk attitude can influence people’s behaviors under risk. Although risk perception and risk attitude have been separately studied as factors that affect risk behaviors, there is a dearth of studies that investigate the interaction between risk perception and risk attitude and how their combination can explain risk behavior. The argument in this study is that both risk perception and risk attitude can be used as determinants to predict whether farmers will take up adaptive measures. The objective of this study is to improve understanding of farmers’ behaviors, especially in the face of climate risk. The study was carried out in 9 sectors out of the 12 sectors that constitute Nyabihu District in western Rwanda. A survey was administered to 313 randomly selected respondents to gather information on both risk perceptions and risk attitudes. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the data and explain some relations in the variables. Logistic regression results showed that factors like access to forecast information, belonging to a cooperative, experience with floods have a significant effect on farmers’ adaptive behaviors.  Risk perception and risk attitude both have an effect on behaviors but the effect was not found to be significant. The results of this study point to the conclusion that policies or programs that encourage farmers to participate in cooperatives and improve farmers’ access to forecast information can lead to adaptive actions. It was also found that gathering accurate information on risk perception and risk attitude is challenging and that it needs further work.


  • Dr. John, Kerr (Chair)
  • Dr. Maria Claudia, Lopez
  • Dr. Gretchen, Neisler