Sample Selection, Individual Heterogeneity, and Regional Heterogeneity in Valuing Farmland Conservation Easements

Yuan Yuan, Kevin J. Boyle and Wen You


Public concern about farmland loss has a long history. These concerns are reflected in the U.S. federal farm bill and state-level programs. However, studies of the benefits of farmland conservation have largely been conducted at the local level. This study investigates heterogeneity in preferences for farmland conservation easements by conducting parallel studies in Georgia, Maine, and Ohio, and for a nationally representative sample using a choice experiment. We find that a program set at the national level will not result in optimal allocations of funds at the state level in terms of targeting farmland that will generate the greatest public benefits. (JEL Q24, Q51)

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