Environmental Amenities and Optimal Agricultural Land Use: The Case of Israel
This paper evaluates the effectiveness of changing land allocation among crops as a mechanism for increasing social welfare, where production profits and amenity benefits are augmented. A positive mathematical programming model is calibrated and applied to the northern part of Israel, using a crop-discriminating amenity-benefits function. Changes in land allocation increase social welfare by 2.4% nationwide, and by up to 15% on the regional level. Regional scale farming-profit losses amount to up to 6%. Due to the decreasing-return-to-scale nature of the amenity-benefits function, the inter-regional variability appears sensitive to the manner in which the country is divided into regions.
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