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Title:Three Essays on Land Conservation Programs
Author(s):Chen, Xiaoxuan
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ando, Amy W.
Department / Program:Agricultural and Consumer Economics
Discipline:Agricultural and Consumer Economics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Economics, Theory
Abstract:This dissertation is a comprehensive study of land conservation programs. The first essay investigates the optimal contract length of land conservation programs when a policy maker tries to maximize total environmental benefits from participation under a budget constraint. Result suggests that the cost-effectiveness of land conservation programs depends on the trade off between an ecological effect and an enrollment effect. The second essay of the dissertation extends the first essay by allowing the regulators to offer a menu of varied contract lengths and payments. Here we find that changes in the ecosystem benefit function induce important variation in the optimal menu of contracts under asymmetric information. Also, across a wide range of ecological benefit functions, there is a stable and large improvement in cost effectiveness associated with using an optimal menu of two contracts with distinct lengths and payments. However, when the ecological benefit function is such that more than half the benefits begin to accrue in the very first year of a contract, it is no longer optimal to offer two contracts designed to sort the farmers by type. The last part of this dissertation tries to provide insight into provision of land-conservation benefits from another perspective, namely, through the understanding of private land conservation behavior and the interactions between public and private land conservation. Our findings suggest that private protected acres are clustered together in space, though it seems that this phenomenon is driven by spatial correlation in explanatory variables rather than by interactions between the activities of private conservation agents. In California, we find that private land conservation is drawn towards places where the government has reserves---spatial attraction. On the other hand, in Illinois and Massachusetts, we find that government reserves act to shift private conservation away from the townships in which they are located in a mixture of spatial repulsion and simple acreage displacement. The findings of this dissertation could provide insight into a more efficient design of land conservation programs.
Issue Date:2006
Description:155 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3250225
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2006

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