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Abstract

Farmland preservation programs compensate landowners who enroll for the value lost due to the the restrictions on development applied to their land. These restrictions in principle decrease the value of the land. Yet few studies have found strong statistical evidence that preserved parcels sell for lower prices than unpreserved parcels. We use both a hedonic and a propensity score method to find that preserved parcels sell for 11.4 to 19.8% less than identical unpreserved parcels in Maryland. While significant, a decrease of less than 20% in land value is surprisingly small. If impacts to land value are small, could programs pay landowners less to enroll and thus enroll more land?

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