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The Effects of Potential Land Development on Agricultural Land Prices

  • Plantinga, Andrew

    (Oregon State U)

  • Lubowski, Ruben

    (Harvard U)

  • Stavins, Robert

    (Harvard U and Resources for the Future)

We conduct a national-scale study of the determinants of agricultural land values to better understand how current farmland prices are influenced by the potential for future land development. The theoretical basis for the empirical analysis is a spatial city model with stochastic returns to future land development. From the theoretical model, we derive an expression for the current price of agricultural land in terms of annual returns to agricultural production, the price of recently developed land parcels, and expressions involving model parameters that are represented in the empirical model by nonlinear functions of observed variables and parameters to be estimated. We estimate the model of agricultural land values with a cross-section on approximately three thousand counties in the contiguous U.S. The results provide strong support for the model, and provide the first evidence that option values associated with irreversible and uncertain land development are capitalized into current farmland values. The empirical model is specified in a way that allows us to identify the contributions to land values of rents from near-term agricultural use and rents from potential development in the future. For each county in the contiguous U.S., we estimate the share of the current land value attributable to future development rents. These results give a clearer indication of the magnitude of land development pressures and yield insights into policies to preserve farmland and associated environmental benefits.

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Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp02-012.

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Date of creation: Feb 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp02-012
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  1. Vitaliano, Donald F & Hill, Constance, 1994. "Agricultural Districts and Farmland Prices," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 213-23, May.
  2. Andrew J. Plantinga & Douglas J. Miller, 2001. "Agricultural Land Values and the Value of Rights to Future Land Development," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(1), pages 56-67.
  3. Mills, David E., 1981. "Growth, speculation and sprawl in a monocentric city," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 201-226, September.
  4. Kowalski, Joseph G. & Paraskevopoulos, Christos C., 1990. "The impact of location on urban industrial land prices," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 16-24, January.
  5. Titman, Sheridan, 1985. "Urban Land Prices under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 505-14, June.
  6. Elad, Renata L. & Clifton, Ivery D. & Epperson, James E., 1994. "Hedonic Estimation Applied To The Farmland Market In Georgia," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 26(02), December.
  7. Abebayehu Tegene & Keith Wiebe & Betsey Kuhn, 1999. "Irreversible Investment Under Uncertainty: Conservation Easements and the Option to Develop Agricultural Land," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 203-219.
  8. McDonald, John F & McMillen, Daniel P, 1998. "Land Values, Land Use, and the First Chicago Zoning Ordinance," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 135-50, March.
  9. David L. Chicoine, 1981. "Farmland Values at the Urban Fringe: An Analysis of Sale Prices," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 57(3), pages 353-362.
  10. Coulson, N. Edward & Engle, Robert F., 1987. "Transportation costs and the rent gradient," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 287-297, May.
  11. Ian W. Hardie & Tulika A. Narayan & Bruce L. Gardner, 2001. "The Joint Influence of Agricultural and Nonfarm Factors on Real Estate Values: An Application to the Mid-Atlantic Region," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(1), pages 120-132.
  12. Capozza, Dennis R. & Li, Yuming, 2002. "Optimal Land Development Decisions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 123-142, January.
  13. Cho, Seong-Hoon & Wu, JunJie, 2001. "Measuring Interactions Among Urban Development, Land Use Regulations, And Public Finance," 2001 Annual meeting, August 5-8, Chicago, IL 20774, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  14. Rosenthal Stuart S. & Helsley Robert W., 1994. "Redevelopment and the Urban Land Price Gradient," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 182-200, March.
  15. Capozza Dennis R. & Sick Gordon A., 1994. "The Risk Structure of Land Markets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 297-319, May.
  16. Capozza, Dennis R. & Helsley, Robert W., 1990. "The stochastic city," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 187-203, September.
  17. Kelejian, Harry H & Prucha, Ingmar R, 1999. "A Generalized Moments Estimator for the Autoregressive Parameter in a Spatial Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(2), pages 509-33, May.
  18. Colwell, Peter F. & Munneke, Henry J., 1997. "The Structure of Urban Land Prices," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 321-336, May.
  19. Yue Jin Shi & Timothy T. Phipps & Dale Colyer, 1997. "Agricultural Land Values under Urbanizing Influences," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(1), pages 90-100.
  20. Mendelsohn, Robert & Nordhaus, William D & Shaw, Daigee, 1994. "The Impact of Global Warming on Agriculture: A Ricardian Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 753-71, September.
  21. Peiser, Richard B., 1987. "The determinants of nonresidential urban land values," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 340-360, November.
  22. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  23. J. S. Shonkwiler & J. E. Reynolds, 1986. "A Note on the Use of Hedonic Price Models in the Analysis of Land Prices at the Urban Fringe," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 62(1), pages 58-63.
  24. Capozza, Dennis R. & Helsley, Robert W., 1989. "The fundamentals of land prices and urban growth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 295-306, November.
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