How Well Can Markets for Development Rights Work? Evaluating a Farmland Preservation Program
AbstractTransferable development rights (TDRs) can be used as a local planning tool to preserve land for particular uses. TDRs separate ownership of the right to develop land from ownership of the land itself, creating a market in which the development rights can be bought and sold. Landowners who sell TDRs permanently preserve their land in an undeveloped state; those TDRs are then used to increase the density of development elsewhere. In this paper, we evaluate a TDR program for preserving farmland in Calvert County, Maryland. We evaluate the performance of the TDR market over the 23-year life of the program by looking at the number of transactions and TDRs sold and the level and dispersion of prices over time. We also look closely at the influence of the county government as a participant in the market. We locate the properties that have been preserved in the county as well as the subdivisions that have used TDRs to increase the density of development. We find that the program is achieving Calvert’s farmland preservation goals and the TDR market appears to have operated efficiently, at least since 1993 when the county increased its role in the TDR market. At that time, the county began purchasing a small number of development rights each year at a fixed and known price and also began publishing a newsletter providing information about the program. These actions stabilized prices and appear to have bolstered participants’ faith in the longevity of the program. Most of the agricultural properties preserved in the program are in areas less profitable for development. The demand for TDRs to increase density is greatest in subdivisions in the northern part of the county, closer to the major urban cities, and interestingly, in relatively rural areas with lowdensity zoning. There appears to be little demand for TDRs and the associated higher density in town centers or areas zoned with residential zoning.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-03-08.
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2003
Date of revision:
land use; farmland preservation; development rights;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
- Q24 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Land
- R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Lori Lynch & Wesley N. Musser, 2001.
"A Relative Efficiency Analysis of Farmland Preservation Programs,"
University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(4), pages 577-594.
- Lynch, Lori & Musser, Wesley N., 2000. "A Relative Efficiency Analysis Of Farmland Preservation Programs," Working Papers 28592, University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
- Lynch, Lori & Musser, Wesley N., 1999. "A Relative Efficiency Analysis Of Farmland Preservation Programs," 1999 Annual meeting, August 8-11, Nashville, TN 21639, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
- Hahn, Robert W, 1984.
"Market Power and Transferable Property Rights,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 99(4), pages 753-65, November.
- Levinson, Arik, 1997. "Why oppose TDRs?: Transferable development rights can increase overall development," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 283-296, June.
- Pizer, William, 1997. "Prices vs. Quantities Revisited: The Case of Climate Change," Discussion Papers dp-98-02, Resources For the Future.
- David E. Mills, 1989. "Is Zoning a Negative-Sum Game?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 65(1), pages 1-12.
- Jeffrey Kline & Dennis Wichelns, 1994. "Using Referendum Data to Characterize Public Support for Purchasing Development Rights to Farmland," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 70(2), pages 223-233.
- Richard Newell & William Pizer & Jiangfeng Zhang, 2005.
"Managing Permit Markets to Stabilize Prices,"
Environmental & Resource Economics,
European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(2), pages 133-157, 06.
- Stavins Robert N., 1995. "Transaction Costs and Tradeable Permits," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 133-148, September.
- Rigoberto A. Lopez & Farhed A. Shah & Marilyn A. Altobello, 1994. "Amenity Benefits and the Optimal Allocation of Land," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 70(1), pages 53-62.
- Jeffrey Kline & Dennis Wichelns, 1996. "Public Preferences Regarding the Goals of Farmland Preservation Programs," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(4), pages 538-549.
- Robert N. Stavins, 2007.
NBER Working Papers
13574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stavins, Robert, 2004. "Environmental Economics," Discussion Papers dp-04-54, Resources For the Future.
- Stavins, Robert, 2004. "Environmental Economics," Working Paper Series rwp04-051, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- Stavins, Robert N., 2004. "Environmental Economics," Working paper 276, Regulation2point0.
- Paul Thorsnes, 2002. "The Value of a Suburban Forest Preserve: Estimates from Sales of Vacant Residential Building Lots," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(3), pages 426-441.
- Cynthia J. Nickerson & Lori Lynch, 2001. "The Effect of Farmland Preservation Programs on Farmland Prices," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(2), pages 341-351.
- Hellerstein, Daniel & Nickerson, Cynthia J. & Cooper, Joseph C. & Feather, Peter & Gadsby, Dwight M. & Mullarkey, Daniel J. & Tegene, Abebayehu & Barnard, Charles H., 2002. "Farmland Protection: The Role Of Public Preferences For Rural Amenities," Agricultural Economics Reports 33963, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
- Barry C. Field & Jon M. Conrad, 1975. "Economic Issues in Programs of Transferable Development Rights," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(4), pages 331-340.
- Heimlich, Ralph E. & Anderson, William D., 2001. "Development At The Urban Fringe And Beyond: Impacts On Agriculture And Rural Land," Agricultural Economics Reports 33943, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
- Paul Thorsnes & Gerald P. W. Simons, 1999. "Letting The Market Preserve Land: The Case For A Market-Driven Transfer Of Development Rights Program," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(2), pages 256-266, 04.
- Joskow, Paul L & Schmalensee, Richard & Bailey, Elizabeth M, 1998. "The Market for Sulfur Dioxide Emissions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 669-85, September.
- Mills, David E., 1980. "Transferable development rights markets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 63-74, January.
- Liski, Matti, 2001. "Thin versus Thick CO2 Market," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 295-311, May.
- Walls, Margaret & McConnell, Virginia, 2004. "Incentive-Based Land Use Policies and Water Quality in the Chesapeake Bay," Discussion Papers dp-04-20, Resources For the Future.
- Walls, Margaret & McConnell, Virginia & Kopits, Elizabeth, 2005.
"Making Markets for Development Rights Work: What Determines Demand,"
dp-05-45, Resources For the Future.
- Elizabeth Kopits & Virginia McConnell & Margaret Walls, 2008. "Making Markets for Development Rights Work: What Determines Demand?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 84(1), pages 1-16.
- McConnell, Virginia D. & Kopits, Elizabeth & Walls, Margaret, 2005. "Farmland Preservation and Residential Density: Can Development Rights Markets Affect Land Use?," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 34(2), October.
- Walls, Margaret & McConnell, Virginia & Kopits, Elizabeth, 2005.
"Zoning, TDRs, and the Density of Development,"
dp-05-32, Resources For the Future.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.