Comparative study in agricultural externalities from empirical point of view: experts perspectives, assessment levels, and policy impacts

by Qiuzhen Chen

Institution: University of Helsinki
Year: 2016
Keywords: Agricultural Economics
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2086074
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/160163


In spite of references to agricultural externalities that usually focus more on the negative impacts of agricultural inputs on the environment, the inclusion of preferred benefit externalities on society and the environment has been highlighted in the presence of multifunctional agriculture. When externalities of multifunctional attributes of agriculture are placed in normative contexts, research questions are raised regarding how agricultural externalities in connection to multifunctional agriculture are understood differently in different countries, how different agricultural and agri-environmental policies affect agricultural inputs that crucially contribute to environmentally-negative externalities, and what alternative approach is possible to evaluate agri-environmental externalities, given that no comprehensive monetary assessment for the costs and benefits of externalities currently exists. The objectives of the study are: first to empirically present how agricultural externalities are performed in a multiple-dimensions that include experts perspectives, synthetic assessment levels, and policy impacts examined nationally, regionally and over time; second, to demonstrate a practical understanding in diverse interpretations of agricultural-externality components in different countries in the context of different agricultural, socio-economic, and societal development levels. The study focuses on four specific objectives that have been demonstrated in four articles. More specifically, Article I examines the experts perspectives on agricultural externalities in terms of the perceptions of multifunctional agriculture in China and Finland through cross-table and factor analysis methods based upon surveys with Chinese and Finnish experts, in order to know what different highlights are given in the two countries. Article II illustrates the evolution of policies associated with elements of multifunctional agriculture and rural areas in the past twenty years in China and Finland, and explains reasons for the differences in policy implementation. Article III assesses agri-environmental externalities at the regional level in Finland through a synthetic evaluation method with a relative index that enables the measurement of aggregated effects of several environmental externalities generated by agricultural activities in a concise way. Article IV investigates how measures and payments associated with Finnish Agri-environment Schemes (AESs) performed in N application at different regions. Meanwhile, Finnish policy measures on N use were compared with agricultural policies in China that stress perpetual concern for food security by subsidizing in fertilizers to influence price-ratio of input and output and contribute to high intensity of N use. The different goals of policy and policy measures implemented explained the variation of application rates of fertilizer N both nationally, regionally, and over time. Different perceptions of their profitability, efficiency, and environmental effects implied disparity in N use. This…