Search theory is used to present a theoretically defensible model to examine the effectiveness of use value assessment (UVA) in preserving farmland. The model is empirically tractable and supports the findings of past research. The analysis considers the impact of farm income, uncertainty, and the distribution of the offer price on the effectiveness of UVA in preserving farmland and shows, through the effect on the reservation price, that for a given distribution of the offer price, property-tax rate, and the difference between market-value and use-value of land, the preservation of agricultural land only takes place within a relevant range.


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