Re-considering Agri-Environmental Schemes premiums: the impact of fixed costs in sign-up decisions
AbstractCurrent 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.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by European Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium with number 43606.
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Agri-environmental schemes; fixed costs; adoption; Environmental Economics and Policy;
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