Determinants of Land-Use Change In the United States 1982-1997
AbstractChanges in the use of land in the United States produce significant economic and environmental effects with important implications for a wide variety of policy issues, including protection of wildlife habitat, management of urban growth, and mitigation of global climate change. In contrast to previous descriptive and qualitative analyses of the trends in national land use, this paper uses an econometric approach to isolate the importance of historical changes in land-use profits and key government policies in determining national land-use changes from 1982 to 1997. The policies we examine are the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and total government payments to crop producers. We estimate a national-level discrete choice model of changes among the major land-use categories (crops, pasture, forest, urban, range, and CRP) with parcel-level observations of land use and land quality from the U.S.D.A. National Resources Inventory NRI) and measures of countylevel land-use net returns from a variety of sources. We then use fitted values from the econometric model to simulate land-use change from 1982 to 1997 under a series of factual and counterfactual scenarios that isolate the effects of different economic and policy factors. The simulations suggest how changes in economic returns and government policies have driven land-use changes in the past and will continue to affect nationwide land-use changes in the future. For example, we find that the introduction of the CRP and the decline in crop profits were the most significant explanatory factors driving the decline in cropland. Our results highlight some “unintended consequences” of government policies and the importance of net returns to a range of alternative land uses as determinants of land area change for each particular use.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-03-47.
Date of creation: 31 Aug 2003
Date of revision:
land use; econometric model; counterfactual simulation; Conservation Reserve Program (CRP);
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
- Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture
- 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
- R15 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Econometric and Input-Output Models; Other Methods
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGR-2006-01-24 (Agricultural Economics)
- NEP-ALL-2006-01-24 (All new papers)
- NEP-DCM-2006-01-24 (Discrete Choice Models)
- NEP-GEO-2006-01-24 (Economic Geography)
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