Important legal notice
AGRILIFE- Agriculture and life sciences in the economy
SUSTAG - Sustainable Agriculture
Feasibility Study on the evaluation of Public Goods and Externalities in EU Agriculture (PGaE)

The objective of this project is to develop a methodological approach for estimating the society's value of Public Goods produced by the EU agricultural sector


The specific objectives of the study:

  • to identify and categorise the PGaE (Public Goods and Externalities) produced by the agricultural sector and select the key ones to be evaluated;
  • to explore the  methodologies already used to value PGaE produced by the EU agricultural sector;
  • to propose a methodological approach, including the survey and sample design to estimate the value of the selected PGaE produced by the EU agricultural sector;
  • to identify the feasibility of the proposed methodology by providing analysis on the amount of resources needed to conduct the survey in the EU-27;
  • to test the proposed methodology in the selected EU region(s).


This study has delivered an up-scaled non-market demand-side valuation framework that allows for obtaining the value in changes of the PGaE of EU agriculture at broad scales, the “macro-regions”. The latter are multi-country areas with homogeneous agro-ecological infra-structures across EU. This is a novel methodological approach with a number of advantages in the context of non-market valuation state-of-art, consisting on relevant achievements of this study, namely:

  • Designing context-rich valuation scenarios at broad scales, ensuring content validity of the valuation survey and the quality of the resulting value estimates.
  • Adopting explicitly an inter-disciplinary approach, crossing knowledge and information from ecological and agricultural sciences with economics.
  • Incorporating end-users needs in the design of the valuation scenarios, and hence addressing explicitly their informational needs.

Alongside with the above mentioned main achievements, there are a number of key results:

  • Comprehensive description of the study selected PGaE within the more relevant approaches to their description for valuation purposes (e.g. ecosystem services approach or total economic value framework), supported by an extensive literature review and the use of the available systems of agri-environmental indicators.
  • Description of the selected agricultural PGaE using agri-environmental indicators, benefiting from the contribution of latest recent advances in the current state-of-art in this field, provided by on-going research and still unpublished work.
  • Contribution to a better and more standardised description of the agri-environmental public goods and externalities build on disentangling of the macro-regional agro-ecological infra-structures from its ecological and cultural services. This is particularly useful to the delimitation and description of the landscape and the biodiversity in the context of non-market demand-side valuation.
  • Delimitation of wide areas with homogeneous agro-ecological infra-structures across EU, designated “macro-regions”.
  • Delimitation of the macro-regions, independently from their supply of PGaE, disentangling the respective agro-ecological infra-structure from its ecological and cultural services.
  • Definition of “macro-regional agri-environmental problems” (MRAEP), through the association of the “macro-regions” with the core PGaE supplied by them, delivering non-market demand-side valuation problems relevant to the agricultural and agri-environmental policy decision-makers.
  • Design of a Choice Modelling (CM) survey able to gather multi-country value estimates of changes in the provision level of different PGaE supplied by different EU broad regions (the macro-regions).
  • Successful testing of the valuation framework through a pilot survey conduct for one of the identified and delimited macro-regional agri-environmental problems: “the farmland abandonment in the Mediterranean Uplands macro-region”, that was administrated to randomly stratified samples of resident population in this macro-region (Portuguese) and non-resident (German), through two alternative survey-modes, face-to-face and panel web-based surveys.
  • Delivering of alternative sampling plans for the EU level large-scale survey allowing for different options regarding the number of surveyed countries, the size and composition of respective samples, and the survey administration-mode, balanced with estimates for the corresponding budgetary cost.

Final Report (January 2013)

Annexes Final Report (January 2013)



Maria Espinosa, Pavel Ciaian, Sergio Gomez y Paloma
Joint Research Centre