Economic and environmental sustainability performance of environmental policies in agriculture
This report reviews the literature on the effects of agri-environmental policies on environmental sustainability and economic performance in agriculture. Examining these twin impacts is essential for understanding the scope for “win-win” policies which improve both types of performance, and where trade-offs between economic and environmental objectives may arise. The review considers findings on several underlying questions: i) whether agri-environmental policy instruments successfully deliver on their objectives to improve the environmental performance of agriculture, and ii) whether agri-environmental policy instruments slow down productivity growth or if they contribute to stimulating productivity growth and improved environmental outcomes. As part of this latter question, this review considers the impacts of agri-environmental policies on innovation, economic performance and structural change in agriculture. It brings together literature from across a range of disciplines, including evidence from over 160 papers. As a whole, the reviewed literature identifies significant “room for improvement” in both the effectiveness of agri-environmental policies for improving agricultural sustainability and their economic efficiency, particularly in relation to hybrid instruments (e.g. cross-compliance) and voluntary agri-environmental schemes (AES).