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Optimal combination of pollution prevention and abatement policies: The case of agricultural drainage

  • Farhed Shah
  • David Zilberman
  • Erik Lichtenberg

The adoption of pollution prevention and abatement practices is examined in the context of a model of exhaustible resource use with a backstop technology. For the sake of concreteness, the paper focuses on the problem of water-logging caused by the subsurface accumulation of agricultural drainwater. In modelling this problem, a region's underground capacity to store drainwater is considered an exhaustible resource, while the installation of subsurface drainage is viewed as the corresponding backstop technology (or abatement practice). The exhaustible resource is typically over-exploited due to common access problems, which forces a suboptimally fast adoption of the abatement practice. Conservationist irrigation technologies, such as drip and sprinkler systems, tend to reduce drainwater generation, and their adoption could increase social welfare by delaying the abatement stage. Public policies are suggested to increase the adoption of such conservationist technologies. Data from California is used to illustrate the results and to demonstrate the efficacy of the model for policy purposes. While the setting used for the analysis in this paper is quite specific (i.e., water-logging), the same general modelling ideas may be applied to many other problems of environmental degradation. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

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

Volume (Year): 5 (1995)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 29-49

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:5:y:1995:i:1:p:29-49
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  1. Kim, C. S. & Moore, Michael R. & Hanchar, John J. & Nieswiadomy, Michael, 1989. "A dynamic model of adaptation to resource depletion: theory and an application to groundwater mining," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 66-82, July.
  2. Kling, Catherine L. & Weinberg, Marca & Wilen, James, 1993. "Water Markets and Water Quality," Staff General Research Papers 1572, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Heal, Geoffrey M., 1993. "The optimal use of exhaustible resources," Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, in: A. V. Kneese† & J. L. Sweeney (ed.), Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 18, pages 855-880 Elsevier.
  4. Ariel Dinar & Mark Campbell & David Zilberman, 1992. "Adoption of improved irrigation and drainage reduction technologies under limiting environmental conditions," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(4), pages 373-398, July.
  5. Regev, Uri & Shalit, Haim & Gutierrez, A. P., 1983. "On the optimal allocation of pesticides with increasing resistance: The case of alfalfa weevil," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 86-100, March.
  6. Kamien, Morton I & Schwartz, Nancy L, 1978. "Optimal Exhaustible Resource Depletion with Endogenous Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 179-96, February.
  7. Dasgupta, Partha & Stiglitz, Joseph, 1981. "Resource Depletion under Technological Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(1), pages 85-104, January.
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