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Multifunctionality, Agricultural Policy, and Environmental Policy

By David G. Abler


In addition to supplying food and fiber, agriculture is a source of public goods and externalities. This article addresses two questions. First, do price and income support policies promote a multifunctional agriculture in an effective manner? Second, would policies targeted more directly at multifunctional attributes be more efficient than price and income support policies? The answer to the first question is no, at least for policies targeted at outputs (price supports, export subsidies, etc.). Public goods are not directly linked to production, but rather to land use and agricultural structures. Evidence in response to the second question is sketchier with respect to policies targeted at land.Environmental Economics and Policy,

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