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Causes Of Multifunctionality: Externalities Or Political Pressure

  • Baylis, Katherine R.
  • Peplow, Stephen
  • Rausser, Gordon C.
  • Simon, Leo K.

The EU has argued that some agricultural subsidies are needed to provide the optimal amount of externalities (both positive and negative) produced by agriculture. The argument is that agriculture is "multifunctional" and externalities such as rural development and landscape would be underproduced, while some forms of pollution (such as nitrogen runoff) would be overproduced without government intervention. Meanwhile, the United States has raised the concern that multifunctionality is primarily an argument to transfer income to producers. In this paper, we discuss the motivation for the EU agri-environmental measures and empirically test for those underlying causes. We find that the programs are not targeted at those regions with the highest environmental need, but neither are they purely a substitute for traditional forms of agricultural subsidies. Demand for general environmental expenditure does influence agri-environmental expenditure as well, as does political structure.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/15841
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Paper provided by University of British Columbia, Food and Resource Economics in its series Working Papers with number 15841.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ags:ubcwps:15841
Contact details of provider: Postal: 2053 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Web page: http://www.landfood.ubc.ca/fre/

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  1. Baylis, Katherine R. & Rausser, Gordon C., 2004. "Agri-Environmental Programs In The United States And The European Union," Working Papers 15848, University of British Columbia, Food and Resource Economics.
  2. Ian Hodge, 2000. "Agri-environmental Pelationships and the Choice of Policy Mechanism," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(2), pages 257-273, 02.
  3. Bimonte, Salvatore, 2002. "Information access, income distribution, and the Environmental Kuznets Curve," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 145-156, April.
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