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Agricultural landscape certification as a market-driven tool to reward the provisioning of cultural ecosystem services

M. Borrello, L. Cecchini, R. Vecchio, Francesco Caracciolo, L. Cembalo and B. Torquati

Ecological Economics, 2022, vol. 193, issue C

Abstract: Traditional agricultural landscapes provide cultural ecosystem services to human communities. However, the limited profitability of these landscapes often discourages farmers from preserving them. The current research evaluates: (i) whether the market would reward farmers providing a cultural ecosystem service, through an increased willingness to pay (WTP), for a food product with a traditional agricultural landscape certification; and (ii) what happens to the WTP when a food product reports multiple certifications, including the traditional agricultural landscape one. A convenience sample of Italian extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) buyers was involved in a non-hypothetical random nth price auction to determine the WTP for 250 ml EVOO bottles carrying different certification bundles. These bundles were composed of different combinations of three certifications: Organic, Protected Designation of Origin, and a traditional agricultural landscape certification associated with the preservation of terraced olive groves. The findings indicate that the traditional agricultural landscape certification receives a premium price both when EVOO carries it individually or combined with other labels. In the latter case, results show sub-additivity of premium prices. The current research proves that traditional agricultural landscapes are not necessarily bound to market failure; however, costs faced by farmers to maintain them can be rewarded through the market.

Keywords: Cultural ecosystem services; Extra virgin olive oil; Italy; Experimental economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107286

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