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Adverse Selection in Reverse Auctions for Ecosystem Services

Listed author(s):
  • Michael A. Arnold
  • Joshua M. Duke
  • Kent D. Messer

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.

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File URL: http://le.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/89/3/387
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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Land Economics.

Volume (Year): 89 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 387-412

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:89:y:2013:iii:1:p:387-412
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://le.uwpress.org/

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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.
  3. Julian M. Alston & Brian H. Hurd, 1990. "Some Neglected Social Costs of Government Spending in Farm Programs," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 72(1), pages 149-156.
  4. Jintao Xu & Ran Tao & Zhigang Xu & Michael T. Bennett, 2010. "China’s Sloping Land Conversion Program: Does Expansion Equal Success?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 86(2), pages 219-244.
  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.
  8. Ferraro, Paul J., 2008. "Asymmetric information and contract design for payments for environmental services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 810-821, May.
  9. Rodney B.W. Smith, 1995. "The Conservation Reserve Program as a Least-Cost Land Retirement Mechanism," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 77(1), pages 93-105.
  10. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, January.
  11. John K. Horowitz & Lori Lynch & Andrew Stocking, 2009. "Competition-Based Environmental Policy: An Analysis of Farmland Preservation in Maryland," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 85(4), pages 555-575.
  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.
  13. 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.
  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.
  16. Timothy N. Cason & Lata Gangadharan, 2004. "Auction Design for Voluntary Conservation Programs," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1211-1217.
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