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The Governance of Rural Land in a Liberalised World


  • Ian Hodge


Liberalisation of agricultural policies reduces the influence of policy on land-use decisions, but environmental policy objectives remain. Governance provides an approach that recognises the role of institutions and collective action. The formulation of environmental policy objectives in terms of the provision of public goods raises questions as to the role of economic valuation and as to whether the definition of 'goods' may misdirect policy attention. An alternative approach relates to ecosystem services and sees management issues in terms of ecosystem resilience and the adaptive governance of socio-ecological systems. Governance involves a mix of regulation, markets, government incentives and collective action. Regulation sets the domain within which markets operate and social judgements as to property rights are required as a basis for exchanges. Depending on commodity prices, agri-environment schemes may be required either to reduce agricultural production intensity or to keep land under production. The diffuse nature of the environmental benefits and costs of land uses, the complexity of ecosystems and the need to co-ordinate land management decisions indicate a role for local adaptive co-management of land resources. Governments play a major role in supporting the institutional framework within which this can take place. Copyright 2007 The Agricultural Economics Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Ian Hodge, 2007. "The Governance of Rural Land in a Liberalised World," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 409-432, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jageco:v:58:y:2007:i:3:p:409-432

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Luigino Bruni & Robert Sugden, 2007. "The road not taken: how psychology was removed from economics, and how it might be brought back," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 146-173, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gunnar Lindberg & Erik Fahlbeck, 2011. "New forms of local collective governance linked to the agricultural landscape: identifying the scope and possibilities for hybrid institutions," International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 9(1/2), pages 31-47.
    2. Jongeneel, Roel & Pollman, Nico, 2014. "Farmer groups as a device to ensure the provision of green services in the Netherlands: a political economy perspective," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 186379, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Nuppenau, Ernst-August, 2010. "Environmental payments in conflicting situations between nature provision and cost minimization: a political economy approach," 118th Seminar, August 25-27, 2010, Ljubljana, Slovenia 95313, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Ortiz-Miranda, Dionisio & Hodge, Ian, 2011. "Entre la propiedad agraria y la ambiental: El debate respecto a los derechos de propiedad de la tierra," Revista Española de Estudios Agrosociales y Pesqueros, Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Rural y Marino (formerly Ministry of Agriculture), issue 231.
    5. Jongeneel, Roel & Polman, Nico, 2014. "Farmer groups as a device to ensure the provision of green services in the Netherlands: a political economy perspective," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 186674, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

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