Working Title: Financial Literacy in Farming Enterprises


I am currently undertaking a part-time PhD under the supervision of Dr. Teresa Hogan in DCU. My PhD forms part of a research collaboration between DCU and Teagasc focusing on understanding financial literacy in farming enterprises and developing a course to improve financial literacy (management) practices at a farm level.

My research topic combines my experience in accounting and finance education with my farming background. Given the significant capital expansion made on many farms in recent years, coupled with the increased market price volatility and economical vulnerability of many of Ireland’s farming enterprises, there is an increased focus on the ability of farmers to effectively understand and manage their farming enterprises from a financial perspective. It is envisaged that my PhD study will contribute to an evidence based approach to designing future financial education programmes for farmers.


PhD Pitch

The majority of studies to date, in both a personal finance and entrepreneurial context, have treated financial literacy as an individual capability or skill that when obtained will automatically influence an individual’s financial practices. This perspective on financial literacy argues that it is a stable concept that can be measured (e.g. using tests), that financial literacy levels can predict the financial decisions you make, and that by providing an individual with the required skills through financial education can make him/her an effective manager of his/her finances.

My PhD endeavours to take a more socially and culturally sensitive view of financial literacy by looking at what farmers actually do in practice to manage their farm finances and what influences these practices at a farm level. This will examine financial literacy not as a discrete set of skills, rather viewing it as a social practice which is situated in a particular social, cultural and political context.

Taking the social practice perspective of financial literacy in farming enterprises should provide a more comprehensive insight into what financial practices occur at a farm level, why these occur, who is involved, and how these practices can be effectively influenced through financial education programmes to improve farm financial management and profitability.


PhD Contribution

My PhD will provide a number of significant contributions to furthering the understanding of financial literacy in farming enterprises including;

  • Providing a more comprehensive understanding of what financial literacy means in a farming enterprise and how it manifests itself in farmer financial practices;
  • Contributing to an evidence based approach to designing future financial education programmes for farmers;
  • Providing an understanding of the influence that various social institutions and power relationships (e.g. Revenue, DAFM, Teagasc, IFJ) have on financial literacy practices; and
  • Examining the impact that cultural and generational influences have on financial literacy practices in farming enterprises.