Publications

TitleEconomic Incentives for Agricultural Nonpoint-Source Pollution-Control
AuthorsMalik A. S., Larson B. A., Ribaudo M.
PublicationWater Resources Bulletin. 1994 Apr; 30(3):471-480.
AbstractThe limited success of command-and-control policies for reducing nonpoint source (NPS) water pollution mandated under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) has prompted increased interest in economic incentive policies as an alternative control mechanism. A variety of measures have been proposed ranging from fairly minor modifications of existing policies to substantial revisions including watershed-wide polices that rely on economic incentives. While greater use of economic incentive policies, such as environmental bonds and point/nonpoint source trading is being advocated in the reauthorization of the CWA, the expected effects of individual proposals will be modest. The characteristics of NPS pollution, namely uncertainty and asymmetrical information, underscores that there is no single, ideal policy instrument for controlling the many types of agricultural NPS water pollution. Some of the usual incentive-based policies, such as effluent taxes, are not well suited to the task. Individual incentive policies proposed for the reauthorized CWA, such as pollution trading or deposit/refund systems, are not broadly applicable for heterogeneous pollution situations. Economic incentive policies may be appropriate in some cases, and command-and-control policies will be preferable in others and may in fact complement incentive policies.