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Evaluating Agri-environmental Policies

Design, Practice and Results

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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.

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Evaluating Agri-environmental Policies in the OECD

The increasing number and complexity of agri-environmental policies is an important reason for the OECD interest in evaluating such measures. The two principal criteria used are environmental effectiveness and economic efficiency, with the later including elements such as administration and compliance costs, dynamic and innovative effects, and changes in farmer attitudes. The OECD has only undertaken a limited number of specific evaluations, including the Permanent Cover Program (Canada), Landcare (Australia), the nutrient quota scheme (the Netherlands) and manure management regulations (various). These evaluations have focused on environmental effectiveness, relied largely on quantitative assessments, and generally use a simple “before and after” approach to establish the impact. Future work will focus on developing models and statistical methods to evaluate the cause and effect relationship between policies and environmental outcomes...

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