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Untangling red tape: Scheme administration and the invisible costs of European agri-environmental policy

Lookup NU author(s): Katherine Falconer, Emeritus Prof Professor Martin Whitby


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Schemes based on compensated agreements for voluntary conservation management have been introduced by member states across the EU to implement Regulation 2078/92 on agri-environmental 'accompanying measures' to the Common Agricultural Policy. However, compensation payments are far from the only source of policy costs: scheme administration requires significant resourcing, raising issues in terms of tax-payer value for money and scheme design to procure agri-environmental goods efficiently. So far, such costs have had a low profile in policy development discussions, but ignoring them will not help to make schemes more efficient. Identifying factors related to administrative cost levels might indicate how scheme implementation could be streamlined while still achieving policy goals. Some observations are presented here from analysis of administrative cost data for 37 case-study schemes in eight European member states. Different implementation activities are needed at different stages of a given scheme's life, affecting the time profile of administrative costs; downwards pressure on costs over time may also stem from economies of scale and the economizing effects of experience. A comparison of the administrative costs for agricultural support and agri-environmental policy implies that administrative costs may grow in importance if environmental conservation objectives receive greater priority in future agricultural policy-making. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd. and ERP Environment.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Falconer K, Whitby M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Environment

Year: 2000

Volume: 10

Issue: 4

Pages: 193-203

Print publication date: 01/07/2000

ISSN (print): 0961-0405

ISSN (electronic): 1099-0976

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons


DOI: 10.1002/1099-0976(200007/08)10:4<193::AID-EET231>3.0.CO;2-D


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