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Re-considering Agri-Environmental Schemes premiums: the impact of fixed costs in sign-up decisions

Jesús Barreiro-Hurlé, Maria Espinosa () and Pierre Dupraz

No 43606, 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium from European Association of Agricultural Economists

Abstract: Current EU legislation states that premiums for agri-environmental schemes must be calculated based on forgone profit and additional costs. This approach has been implemented for the last decades without much success in farmer uptake, a situation that might even worsen as the 20% additional payment as incentive for participation has been excluded in the new EU Rural Development Framework 2007-2013. This paper tries to explain why supply side estimated premiums might not suffice to assure farm profitability investigating the role that fixed costs have on adoption. A farm profit maximizing model is proposed where fixed and transaction costs are split from variations in marginal profit. This model is then developed to identify the potential barriers to adoption associated with the presence of fixed compliance costs. A sample of farmers eligible for an agri-environmental scheme entailing a land-use change is used to test whether the theoretical models are valid for explaining adoption decisions. Two different econometric specifications are used to identify the role of fixed costs, one assuming that uptake and surface decisions are governed by the same variables and another distinguishing both decisions. Estimation results show that there is an adoption barrier derived from the initial farm technical assets and know-how affecting the fixed compliance costs of introducing the new crop. Therefore not compensating for fixed costs can curtail agri-environmental policy success. In addition, there is an adoption barrier derived from transaction costs which are reduced in the presence of social networks.

Keywords: Environmental; Economics; and; Policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 6
Date: 2008
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env
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DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.43606

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