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Diffuse Pollution and the Role of Agriculture

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  • Pearce, David
  • Koundouri, Phoebe

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Pearce, David & Koundouri, Phoebe, 2003. "Diffuse Pollution and the Role of Agriculture," MPRA Paper 38443, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38443
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chai, Yuan & Pannell, David J. & Pardey, Philip G., 2022. "Reducing Water Pollution from Nitrogen Fertilizer: Revisiting Insights from Production Economics," Staff Papers 320519, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
    2. Phoebe Koundouri, 2004. "Current Issues in the Economics of Groundwater Resource Management," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(5), pages 703-740, December.
    3. Koundouri, Phoebe, 2005. "Design and Implementation of an Integrated Water Management Approach," MPRA Paper 38440, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Karousakis, Katia & Koundouri, Phoebe, 2006. "A Typology of Economic Instruments and Methods for Efficient Water Resources Management in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions," MPRA Paper 41909, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    diffuse pollution; agriculture; UK;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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