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Diffuse Pollution and the Role of Agriculture

  • David Pearce
  • Phoebe Koundouri

Agriculture contributes negative and positive externalities to society, that is, beneficial and detrimental changes in human wellbeing to third parties for which they are not generally compensated or charged. Beneficial externalities include the creation of amenity and landscape and negative externalities include pollution of surface and groundwater. In so far as parts of agricultural subsidies compensate for beneficial externalities, they are said to be 'internalised' and should not be the subject of further policy measures. However, agricultural subsidies also add to the negative externalities by expanding output and encouraging environmentally detrimental farming practices. Comprehensive attempts to value these externalities in the UK and to compare them to the true value added of the agricultural sector are to be found in Hartridge and Pearce (2002) and Pretty et al. (2000). A particular feature of the negative externalities is the damage done by nutrient pollution and by pesticides. Nutrient pollution refers to water pollution mainly from nitrates and phosphorus, concentrations being elevated by leaching from soils of fertilisers and animal manure and slurry. A similar leaching process occurs with pesticides. Significant repositories for these leached pollutants are surface waters and groundwater.

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Paper provided by Athens University of Economics and Business in its series DEOS Working Papers with number 0301.

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Publication status: Published in Water Sustainability and Regulation: The Next Periodic Review and Beyond
Handle: RePEc:aue:wpaper:0301
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  3. Xepapadeas, A. P., 1992. "Environmental policy design and dynamic nonpoint-source pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 22-39, July.
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  5. Horan, Richard D. & Shortle, James S. & Abler, David G., 1998. "Ambient Taxes When Polluters Have Multiple Choices," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 186-199, September.
  6. Segerson, Kathleen & Miceli, Thomas J., 1998. "Voluntary Environmental Agreements: Good or Bad News for Environmental Protection?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 109-130, September.
  7. Shortle, James S & Horan, Richard D, 2001. " The Economics of Nonprofit Pollution Control," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 255-89, July.
  8. Miceli, Thomas J & Segerson, Kathleen, 1994. "Regulatory Takings: When Should Compensation Be Paid?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 749-76, June.
  9. C. W. Rougoor & H. Van Zeijts & M. F. Hofreither & S. Backman, 2001. "Experiences with Fertilizer Taxes in Europe," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(6), pages 877-887.
  10. James S. Shortle & Andrew Laughland, 1994. "Impacts Of Taxes To Reduce Agrichemical Use When Farm Policy Is Endogenous," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 3-14.
  11. Richard Horan & James Shortle, 1999. "Optimal Management of Multiple Renewable Resource Stocks: An Application to Minke Whales," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 13(4), pages 435-458, June.
  12. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521311120 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Archer, David W. & Shogren, Jason F., 2001. "Risk-indexed herbicide taxes to reduce ground and surface water pollution: an integrated ecological economics evaluation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 227-250, August.
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