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Spatial Heterogeneity and the Choice of Instruments to Control Nonpoint Pollution

  • JunJie Wu
  • Bruce Babcock

Because it is difficult to monitor emissions and to implement differentialtaxes and standards, uniform taxes and standards on agricultural chemicaluse are often proposed and used to control nonpoint-source pollution. Thisarticle analyzes the relative efficiency of these uniform instruments in thepresence of spatial heterogeneity. We show that the relative slopes of themarginal pollution cost and marginal profit of chemical use are only one ofthe factors that affect the relative efficiency. Other factors includecorrelation between marginal pollution costs and marginal profits and theslope and variability of marginal profits. In addition, a uniform tax mayresult in some farmers not using the chemical, and a uniform standard mayhave no effect on low-input land. We show empirically that the presence ofcorner solutions can reverse a conventional finding of tax or standardsuperiority based on the relative-slop rule. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

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Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 173-192

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:18:y:2001:i:2:p:173-192
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  2. Thomas W. Hertel & Kyle Stiegert & Harry Vroomen, 1996. "Nitrogen-Land Substitution in Corn Production: A Reconciliation of Aggregate and Firm-Level Evidence," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(1), pages 30-40.
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  12. JunJie Wu & Bruce A. Babcock, 1996. "Contract Design for the Purchase of Environmental Goods from Agriculture," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(4), pages 935-945.
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  17. Wu, JunJie & Mapp, Harry P., Jr. & Bernardo, Daniel J., 1994. "A Dynamic Analysis Of The Impact Of Water Quality Policies On Irrigation Investment And Crop Choice Decisions," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 26(02), December.
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