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Sustainable agriculture - getting the institutions right

Nachhaltige Landwirtschaft und die Rolle von Institutionen
[working paper]

Slangen, Louis H.G.

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Corporate Editor Humboldt-Universität Berlin, Institut für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften des Landbaus, Fachgebiet Ressourcenökonomie
Abstract "In most countries of the world, a sustainable agriculture is both an important and difficult issue. The agricultural sector in Central and Eastern European is confronted by two large problems at the same time: transition processes and sustainability. The purpose of this paper is, in the first place, to make clear that the institutional setting is very important. Second, it gives an overview of the literature on sustainability, institutions and institutional innovation. The phenomenon sustainability encompassing three dimensions: economic, social and environmental. Institutions are not always exogenous and right so that economic agents will behave in the 'correct' (that is efficient) manner. The non-marketable attributes of agricultural land use such as wildlife and landscape and the quality of soil, water and air create market failure. How-ever, they are important for sustainability. With a lack of markets to realise sustainability, there is a strong incentive to develop institutions capable of changing the farmerżs behaviour in ways that will achieve the unachievable via market signals alone. Direct government production is likely to be superior, if the government may not know what it wants and if the contract party has a strong tendency to reduce costs, but this is accompanied by a reduction in (non-contractable) quality. However, in general, both situations do not apply to sustainable agriculture. Type of government intervention has consequence for property rights. Under influence of changes in the institutional environment, the opinion about the protection of the property rights is shifting. The economic valuation of changes in the quality of soil, water, wildlife and landscape depends on if the change taking place either below or above the reference level. From the actual behaviour of the government, it can be concluded that the reference level is being used more and more as a watershed to the question of the allocation of property rights and the use of charges or compensation." (author's abstract)

Eine nachhaltige Landwirtschaft ist in den meisten Ländern der Welt ein zugleich wichtiges und schwieriges Ziel. Der Agrarsektor in Mittel- und Osteuropa ist gleichzeitig mit zwei großen Problemen konfrontiert: Übergangsprozesse und Nachhaltigkeit. Das Ziel des vorliegenden Papiers ist zum einen, deutlich zu machen, dass das institutionelle Setting sehr wichtig ist. Das Papier gibt zum anderen einen Überblick über die Literatur zu Nachhaltigkeit, Institutionen und institutioneller Innovation. Das Phänomen der Nachhaltigkeit umfasst drei Dimensionen: eine ökonomische, eine soziale und eine umweltbezogene. Institutionen sind nicht immer exogen und so konstruiert, dass sich ökonomische Akteure in einer "korrekten" (d.h. wirksamen) Weise verhalten würden. Die nicht-marktbezogenen Eigenschaften von landwirtschaftlicher Landnutzung, wie Wildleben und Landschaft und die Qualität von Erde, Wasser und Luft führen zu Marktversagen. Dennoch sind sie für die Nachhaltigkeit wichtig. Da Märkte nicht zur Realisierung von Nachhaltigkeit taugen, gibt es einen starken Anreiz, Institutionen zu entwickeln, die in der Lage sind, das Verhalten der Landwirte zu ändern. (ICIÜbers)
Keywords Central Europe; Eastern Europe; agriculture; sustainable development; institution; law; ownership structure; market; transformation; agricultural policy; Europe
Classification Economic Sectors; Ecology, Environment
Method applied research
Document language English
Publication Year 2001
City Berlin
Page/Pages 34 p.
Series CEESA Discussion Paper, 1
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
data provider This metadata entry was indexed by the Special Subject Collection Social Sciences, USB Cologne