Whereas adaptations to climate change in the agriculture sector are well studied, non-climatic drivers thereof are considerably less explored. This is particularly true for market related factors. Every change in farming practices is attributed to climate change. This article presents new evidence of how adaptations to market risks may be incorrectly attributed to climate change risk because of causal attribution bias emerging from poorly structured survey instrument and response inducing questions. Through a quasi-experiment administered on 400 rural farming households from four districts of Pakistan, we demonstrate that when farmers are not sensitized about climate change prior to questions on adaptations they assign market factors such as availability of new market opportunities, improved purchasing power, and net profitability as major reason for changes in sowing date, growing new crop verity and use of fertilizers. To be exact, less than 2% and 1% of farmers indicated climate change as the reason behind the change in crop variety and use of fertilizers respectively. Similarly, only 10% of farmers associated late sowing with climate change. Findings of the study imply a stronger role of the market-related factors in changing agricultural practices over the time asking policymakers to design better market-based interventions and incentives for increasing the adaptation in the agriculture community. Findings have also implications for mix method research and can be generalized for all research fields involving survey design.
• Adaptations to market risks may be incorrectly attributed to climate change due to attribution bias.
• The farmers find non-climatic factors as a major driver behind the change in their agriculture practices.
• The market-based interventions and incentives are required for improving the adaptation practices.