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.



Assessing Long-term Impacts of Agri-environmental Measures in Germany

This contribution describes the development of agri-environmental measures in Germany and presents an evaluation approach for the assessment of long-term impacts.2 Farm accounts of 18 600 farms over 13 years (1989-2002) have been used to select samples of farms participating in agri-environmental schemes and similar farms not participating in these schemes, using a cluster analysis. For each farm with high agri-environmental payments, five similar farms receiving no or low levels of environmental payments (“non-participants”) were selected. The results show that farms participating in agri-environmental schemes have reduced their land use intensity and production per hectare, compared to non-participants, with organic farms showing notably higher rates of extensification. Although considerable income effects can be observed, there is no clear “windfall profit” situation, because participants significantly improve their environmental performance. For such management changes, appropriate incentives are needed in order to compensate for risks involved. Analysis of farm accounts can provide valuable insights into long-term farm developments. However, certain impacts of farming, e.g. in the area of erosion and biodiversity, are not “visible” in the accounts. Therefore, the presented approach is only one element in a methodology mix to be applied when evaluating agri-environmental schemes.


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