This article has been translated with DeepL.

NEW RESEARCH | The “law of jante” affects advice to farmers

Foto: Unsplash.

Competition in agriculture is increasing and valuable advice can have a significant impact on a farmer’s performance. However, recent research shows that advisors governed by the Law of Attraction tone down their entrepreneurial advice to farmers.

In the 1980s, there were 120 000 farms in Sweden. Today, that figure is half, but the number of animals and area is the same.

– There are fewer but much larger farms. “The small farms have disappeared due to price pressure from consumers,” says Jozefine Nybom, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

In her doctoral thesis, she has studied what happens when farmers are exposed to increasingly tough competition. Among other things, she has investigated how the norms and values of farm advisors influence the business advice they give.

– The study assumed that people who think a lot about what others think and say also tend to put the brakes on financially successful farmers. Precisely because the Law of Envy is based on jealousy. But we were wrong, the advisors give the same type of advice to everyone, regardless of the farmer’s financial situation.

Jante inhibits entrepreneurship

Jozefine Nybom. Photo: Marianne Persson, SLU.

Farmers who want to develop their business, for example by working with innovative methods, often turn to farm advisors for advice and support. For example, you may currently work in crop production but want to expand your business to include animals. When it comes to these types of questions, Jozefine Nybom’s research shows that the Law of Attraction plays a role in the advice advisors give.

– When it comes to advice on entrepreneurial activities, we can see that Jante kicks in. The more you are guided by norms and values in line with the Law of Attraction, the less entrepreneurial advice you give.

What do you think the consequences of this could be?

– It can have a major impact. Large sums of money are invested by the EU and the Swedish government in advice and development of agriculture in Sweden. But this means that you can miss opportunities to develop activities, and that it largely depends on who the farmer meets on the farm,” says Jozefine Nybom.


More about the thesis
Jozefine Nybom recently defended her PhD at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences with the thesis Quantifying internal and external influences on Swedish farmers´strategic choices and performance outcomes. In addition to the Jantelagen article, she has also studied the growth strategies chosen by farmers when competition increases, and the role of the family in the identity of farmers. To the thesis.