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Agency Perceptions Of Alternative Salinity Policies: The Role Of Fairness


  • McCann, Laura M.J.
  • Hafdahl, Adam


Economics has looked at the decision process of politicians but the decision process of agency staff has primarily been the purview of sociologists. Agencies affect the final form of regulations, they may enforce or ignore regulations that exist, and they provide information to the political process. Policies recommended by economists for nonpoint source pollution control are seldom supported by government agencies. This study examined the relationship between preferences for a particular policy and perceptions of farmer cost, farmer resistance, efficacy in salinity reduction, fairness, and administrative costs. The latter were included to find whether transaction costs of implementing policies affect preferences and whether this could help explain the existence of current policies. To test this hypothesis, a survey of people working on the salinity issue in Western Australia was conducted and structural equation modelling was used to examine the relationship between perceived policy attributes. As expected, fairness had a direct and significant effect on policy preference and also affected farmer resistance and administrative cost. Administrative cost was also positively affected by farmer cost and farmer resistance. Interestingly, other analyses showed there was no direct effect between farmer cost and policy preference or between effectiveness and farmer resistance.

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  • McCann, Laura M.J. & Hafdahl, Adam, 2003. "Agency Perceptions Of Alternative Salinity Policies: The Role Of Fairness," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22097, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea03:22097

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barrett, Christopher B., 1996. "Fairness, stewardship and sustainable development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 11-17, October.
    2. Blount, Sally, 1995. "When Social Outcomes Aren't Fair: The Effect of Causal Attributions on Preferences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 131-144, August.
    3. McCann, Laura M.J. & Easter, K. William, 2000. "Estimates Of Public Sector Transaction Costs In Nrcs Programs," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 32(03), December.
    4. Jeremy Clark, 1998. "Fairness in Public Good Provision: An Investigation of Preferences for Equality and Proportionality," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(3), pages 708-729, August.
    5. Oberholzer-Gee, Felix & Bohnet, Iris & Frey, Bruno S, 1997. "Fairness and Competence in Democratic Decisions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 91(1), pages 89-105, April.
    6. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
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    8. Herman, Stewart W. & Schaefer, Arthur Gross, 1997. "Introduction," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 1-3, March.
    9. Tietenberg, Tom, 1998. "Ethical influences on the evolution of the US tradable permit approach to air pollution control," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2-3), pages 241-257, February.
    10. Peter Kennedy, 2003. "A Guide to Econometrics, 5th Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 5, volume 1, number 026261183x, July.
    11. Wilen, James E. & Homans, Frances R., 1998. "What do regulators do? Dynamic behavior of resource managers in the North Pacific Halibut Fishery 1935-1978," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2-3), pages 289-298, February.
    12. Richard B. Howarth, 1997. "Sustainability as Opportunity," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 569-579.
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