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2009: Overview of the costs and benefits associated with the regulation of Scottish agriculture

The primary purpose of farming is the production of food and non-food products for the market, but it is a diverse and complex industry that can have significant non-market effects. These effects include positive benefits such as contributions towards the maintenance or enhancement of aesthetic landscapes, biodiversity and rural cohesion.

However, farming can also generate significant negative effects, for example in the form of environmental damage such as air and water pollution and habitat degradation. These effects reflect a divergence between private and social costs and benefits, and may merit public intervention in order to improve outcomes for society.

The government can intervene in a range of ways, for example, by providing information, creating incentive schemes or through command-and-control approaches. Regardless of the type of intervention, governments are increasingly aware of the problems that poorly designed regulation can create and “better regulation” has become an important policy driver at both European and national levels.

This study, which was commissioned by Scottish Government and SNIFFER, sought to:

  • Describe the regulations associated with Scottish agriculture;
  • Provide an overview of the methodology for assessing the costs and benefits of regulation;
  • Assess the costs and benefits associated with key regulations in Scottish agriculture; and
  • Identify areas where there are opportunities to improve the effectiveness of regulation.

Download the Research Briefing

Overview of the costs and benefits associated with the regulation of Scottish agriculture

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