Evaluating Agri-environmental Policies

Design, Practice and Results

image of Evaluating Agri-environmental Policies

These conference proceedings present a series of evaluations of agri-environmental policies in OECD countries.  They examine how effective the policies have been in achieving objectives and what policy makers have learned about the design and implementation of their policies. 

These proceedings show that different methods of policy evaluation are complementary. Most countries focus on evaluating the environmental effectiveness rather than the economic efficiency of policies, using physical indicators rather than monetary values. Many policies are achieving their environmental objectives, but are taking longer than originally anticipated. The initiative being taken in many countries to incorporate monitoring and data collection into programme design and implementation is a positive development.  But a number of steps need to be taken to improve the quality of evaluations, including the better articulation of policy goals and objectives, improving data quality and establishing baselines for comparison.



Alternative Approaches for Evaluating the Performance of Buffer Strip Policy in Finland

This paper reviews alternative evaluation techniques used to assess environmental and economic performance of Finnish buffer strip policy. Narrow (3-metre) buffer strips are one of the basic mandatory measures in the Finnish agri-environmental programme. Their major objective is to improve surface water quality through reducing surface run-offs of sediment and sediment bound pollutants. Wide (15-metre) buffer strips are one of the environmentally more effective special agrienvironmental measures. All evaluation techniques reviewed in the paper (experiments, field survey data, expert surveys and economic analysis) showed that buffer strips are environmentally effective agri-environmental measures. Economic analysis revealed, however, that the establishment of wide buffer strips is not profitable for a farmer at current compensation level. Economic analysis also showed that uniform narrow buffer strips performed well under heterogeneous conditions whereas uniform fertiliser restrictions produced significant welfare losses.


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