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Review: The economics of soil health

Andrew Stevens ()

Food Policy, 2018, vol. 80, issue C, 1-9

Abstract: Soil health plays an important role in agricultural productivity, food quality, environmental resiliency, and ecosystem sustainability. Consequently, there is great interest from policymakers for evidence-based research on the benefits and costs of investing in healthy soils. In this article, I endeavor to build a common understanding between economists, soil scientists, and policymakers about how to pursue research on the economics of soil health. First, I summarize the current understanding of soil health as a holistic and multidimensional concept beyond that of mere soil fertility. Second, I argue that optimal control models are particularly well suited to capture the underlying economics of soil management. Finally, I outline relevant implications of such an approach for setting soil health policy.

Keywords: Soil health; Optimal control; Externalities; Information (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q10 Q15 Q24 C61 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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