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Adverse Selection in Reverse Auctions for Ecosystem Services

Author

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  • Michael A. Arnold
  • Joshua M. Duke
  • Kent D. Messer

Abstract

This paper examines how auctions for ecosystem services introduce adverse selection, limiting cost-effectiveness. Induced-value experiments test theory and examine the extent of adverse selection in these markets. In comparison to the baseline of either doing nothing or the optimality of an externality-correcting tax, a discriminatory reverse auction and two screening contracts are tested. In limited budget situations, the auction achieved the lowest social surplus, while screening contracts that rely upon the government observing the development value yield the highest relative social surplus. These results are important because recent environmental policy trends are focused on expanding fiscally costly reverse auctions.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael A. Arnold & Joshua M. Duke & Kent D. Messer, 2013. "Adverse Selection in Reverse Auctions for Ecosystem Services," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 89(3), pages 387-412.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:89:y:2013:iii:1:p:387-412
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Steven Schilizzi & Uwe Latacz-Lohmann, 2007. "Assessing the Performance of Conservation Auctions: An Experimental Study," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 83(4), pages 497-515.
    2. Gregory Lewis & Patrick Bajari, 2011. "Procurement Contracting With Time Incentives: Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1173-1211.
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    5. Schilizzi, Steven & Latacz-Lohmann, Uwe, 2007. "Assessing the performance of conservation auctions: an experimental study," 2007 Conference (51st), February 13-16, 2007, Queenstown, New Zealand 10436, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    6. Canton, Joan & De Cara, Stéphane & Jayet, Pierre-Alain, 2009. "Agri-environmental schemes: Adverse selection, information structure and delegation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 2114-2121, May.
    7. John G. Riley, 2001. "Silver Signals: Twenty-Five Years of Screening and Signaling," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 432-478, June.
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    12. Messer, Kent D. & Allen, William L., III, 2010. "Applying Optimization and the Analytic Hierarchy Process to Enhance Agricultural Preservation Strategies in the State of Delaware," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 39(3), October.
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    14. Ruben N. Lubowski & Michael J. Roberts, 2005. "How Cost-Effective Are Land Retirement Auctions? Estimating the Difference between Payments and Willingness to Accept in the Conservation Reserve Program," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1239-1247.
    15. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Frans P. Vries & Nick Hanley, 2016. "Incentive-Based Policy Design for Pollution Control and Biodiversity Conservation: A Review," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 63(4), pages 687-702, April.
    2. Swallow, Stephen K., 2013. "Demand-side Value for Ecosystem Services and Implications for Innovative Markets: Experimental Perspectives on the Possibility of Private Markets for Public Goods," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(01), pages 33-56, April.
    3. Paul J. Burke, 2016. "Undermined by Adverse Selection: Australia's Direct Action Abatement Subsidies," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 35(3), pages 216-229, September.
    4. repec:eee:ecolec:v:146:y:2018:i:c:p:347-358 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Vogt, Nora & Bizer, Kilian, 2013. "Lock-in effects in competitive bidding schemes for payments for ecosystem services: Revisiting the fundamental transformation," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 158, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    6. repec:kap:enreec:v:68:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10640-016-0063-x is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Nora Vogt, 2015. "Environmental Risk Negatively Impacts Trust and Reciprocity in Conservation Contracts: Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 62(3), pages 417-431, November.
    8. Jacob R. Fooks & Kent D. Messer & Joshua M. Duke, 2015. "Dynamic Entry, Reverse Auctions, and the Purchase of Environmental Services," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 91(1), pages 57-75.
    9. Simanti Banerjee & Anthony Kwasnica & James Shortle, 2015. "Information and Auction Performance: A Laboratory Study of Conservation Auctions for Spatially Contiguous Land Management," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 61(3), pages 409-431, July.
    10. Leah H. Palm-Forster & Scott M. Swinton & Frank Lupi & Robert S. Shupp, 2016. "Too Burdensome to Bid: Transaction Costs and Pay-for-Performance Conservation," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1314-1333.
    11. Messer, Kent D. & Duke, Joshua M. & Lynch, Lori & Li, Tongzhe, 2017. "When Does Public Information Undermine the Efficiency of Reverse Auctions for the Purchase of Ecosystem Services?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 212-226.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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