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Abstract

Data on owner and land characteristics are used to analyze factors affecting participation decisions in Delaware's agricultural lands preservation program, federal commodity programs, and federal conservation programs. A trivariate probit model estimates a set of random utility models of participation. Participation decisions at the state and federal levels are found to be driven by many of the same observed factors, but uncorrelated in unobserved characteristics. The important exceptions are that owners of small parcels under development pressure and with parcels of relatively low environmental quality tend to enroll in commodity programs rather than preservation. In part, the complex policy environment may therefore limit the effectiveness of programs seeking to preserve parcels with the highest environmental quality or facing the greatest development pressure.

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