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Evaluation of Agri-environmental schemes – 2017 until 2022

Funding: EU’s 7th Research Framework Program, Argelander Grant "Starter Kit"


Agri-environmental schemes (AES) are among the most important policy instruments of the European Union to mitigate biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. Farmers participate in AES on a voluntary base and commit to produce at higher environmental standards. However, the environmental impacts of AES have been shown to fall short of achieving the EU’s sustainability goals. This project comprises two aims. First, the project investigates the impact of AES participation on environmentally relevant farming inputs using the potential outcome framework. With this project, we develop a qualitative causal model to make underlying behavioral assumptions transparent and employ different variants of DID-matching to estimate the average treatment effect based on farm accountancy data for Germany and Austria.
Second, the project investigates in how far result-based AES can contribute to overcoming adoption barriers for AES participation related to inflexible land management prescriptions of current AES. These result-based schemes are targeted at specific environmental issues and farmers receive a premium for reaching a pre-determined environmental target, monitored through indicators, e.g. a fixed amount of insect species, independent of how they achieve these goals. The purpose of this project is to gain insight into farmers’ practical decision-making in the context of result-based AES. Main questions concern the role of different factors on the participation decision, intensity of participation and the role of a social nudge treatment. While previous studies have been focusing on grassland management, we concentrated on arable farming in NRW.

Project team: 

Prof. Dr. Silke Hüttel, Dr. Reinhard Uehleke, Dr. Manuela Meraner, MSc. Anna Massfeller

Collaboration partners:

Prof. Dr. Martin Petrick (IAMO, Halle/S and Gießen University)
Dr. Heidi Leonhardt (BOKU, Vienna)