IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Voluntary Cost-Share Programs: Lessons from Economic Theory and Their Application to Rural Water Quality Programs


  • Weersink, Alfons
  • McKitrick, Ross
  • Nailor, Mike


Inducing farmers to adopt alternative, more environmentally friendly production practices has been attempted in a variety of ways ranging from moral suasion to direct regulation to economic instruments. Among the most common instruments are voluntary cost-share programs that involve taxpayers sharing in the cost of production practices that generate fewer pollutants. These programs increase the attractiveness of alternative practices to farmers because they either compensate the farmer for any loss in profits or they offset the capital costs of adopting the new technology. Voluntary cost-share programs are a common policy tool because of their political viability, but their effectiveness has been limited largely due to the blanket approach used to distribute funds (Weersink et al., 1998). Since such programs continue to be a popular policy tool, as evidenced by the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) in the United States and the National Heritage Trust in Australia, regulators need to know how to improve their effectiveness. This paper examines whether voluntary cost-share programs can succeed in achieving environmental objectives efficiently. The paper begins by developing a conceptual model of atypical cost-share program in which the regulator subsidizes the cost incurred for a set of pre-approved abatement practices. The paper then examines the cost-share program — the Rural Water Quality Program (RWQP) implemented in the Grand River Watershed by the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Ontario.

Suggested Citation

  • Weersink, Alfons & McKitrick, Ross & Nailor, Mike, 2001. "Voluntary Cost-Share Programs: Lessons from Economic Theory and Their Application to Rural Water Quality Programs," CAFRI: Current Agriculture, Food and Resource Issues, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society, issue 02.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:cafric:45694

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Productivity Commission, 2003. "Industries, land use and water quality in the Great Barrier Reef Catchment," Others 0305001, EconWPA.
    2. Peter C. Boxall & Orsolya Perger & Marian Weber, 2013. "Reverse Auctions for Agri-Environmental Improvements: Bid-Selection Rules and Pricing for Beneficial Management Practice Adoption," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 39(s2), pages 23-36, August.
    3. Anonymous, 2003. "Industries, Land Use and Water Quality in the Great Barrier Reef Catchment," Commissioned Studies 31918, Productivity Commission.

    More about this item


    International Relations/Trade;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:cafric:45694. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.