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Normative economics starts with a given objective of resource collection. A prescribed use of resources that leads to the attainment of this objective might be called an "ideal" allocation. In research it serves as a standard for comparison. There exists at any given time an "actual" pattern of resource allocation, which may or may not be the same as the ideal. When it is not the same, ways are sought to make it conform in order to achieve the expressed objective. Difficulties in changing the actual pattern of resource use to make it conform to the ideal are often called obstacles. When these difficulties are economic they are also referred to as imperfections in administration of resources. In a true research sense they are problems within a broadly conceived problematic situation, and major concern rests with their removal. They must first be accurately identified, then ways must be found to help overcome or minimize them. By so doing, recommendations can be made which, if adopted, will lead to the stated objective of resource use. The purpose of this paper is to show how the normative analysis is followed in identifying obstacles to control of soil erosion in western Iowa and in providing alternative methods for overcoming them.


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