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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.

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The Use of Green Taxes in Denmark for the Control of the Aquatic Environment

In preparation for the Aquatic Environment Plan III, separate economic models were developed to assess the use of economic instruments to control for nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from

agriculture. These included taxes on various inputs; taxes on surpluses (inputs less outputs) at the national, sectoral and farm levels; and tradable quotas. The results indicated that to achieve the same reduction in nutrient surplus (a proxy for pollution) the adjustment costs for farmers were much higher when inputs were taxed than when surplus were taxed. While the government decided to not adopt a nitrogen tax (because of the success of the current regulation regime) it has introduced a tax on mineral phosphorus in feed (while having the largest adjustment cost for farmers this tax is simpler to administer). A review of the Danish pesticide tax suggested that it has been effective in moving pesticide consumption closer towards the substance quantity targets.

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