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Agro-environmental economics and agronomy


Anno accademico 2011/2012

Codice dell'attività didattica
Alessandro CORSI (Affidamento interno)
Francesco VIDOTTO (Affidamento interno)
Corso di studi
[f001-c501] LM - Scienze agrarie
2° anno
D - A scelta dello studente
SSD dell'attività didattica

AGR/01 - economia ed estimo rurale
AGR/02 - agronomia e coltivazioni erbacee

Sommario insegnamento


Obiettivi formativi

To provide students with an economic approach to environmental issues in agriculture.

To analyze the main interconnections between agricultural production systems and the environment.


Risultati dell'apprendimento attesi

Students will achieve the analytical tools to interpret agri-environmental issues in an economic perspective; they will be able to discuss in this framework agricultural and agri-environmental policies of the EU.

Students will obtain an understanding of the agronomic techniques that can be applied profitably to mitigate the potential adverse effects of agriculture on the environment. An overview of the agronomical shifts requested to meet the objectives of the agro-environmental policies will also be discussed.



Revision of basic economics. Market as an efficient resource allocation mechanism. Pareto optimum. Efficiency and equity. Kaldor-Hicks compensation principle. Market failures: public goods, externalities, open access resources. Externalities. Externalities as a reason for not reaching a social optimum. Optimal level of externalities. Policy interventions on externalities: market, standards, taxes, subsidies, marketable permits. Public goods. The economic measurement of benefits from public goods. Valuation methods of the benefits of public goods. Agriculture and environment. Positive and negative externalities associated to agricultural production. Structural and technical evolution of agriculture and its impact on environment. Sustainable agriculture and multifunctional agriculture. The Common Agricultural Policy and the environment. Agro-environmental measures and the greening of the CAP.

Environmental effects of agriculture; the DPSIR scheme for the interpretation of the environmental impact; the water compartment and legislative framework (European Water Framework Directive – WFD – 2000/60/EC; vulnerability indices to nitrates and pesticides; national and local policies) Balance of fertilizers (in detail of nitrogen) in agricultural production systems at different scales; impacts of wrong agronomic practices; the strategy to reduce nitrogen release to surface and groundwater Impact of use of pesticides (in detail herbicides); point and diffuse pollution-sources; environmental fate of herbicides; agronomical practices for mitigation of contamination of water and other compartments. 

Testi consigliati e bibliografia


A general textbook on Environmental economics, not too technical:
- Pearce D.W, Turner K.R., Economics of Natural Resources and the Environment, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1990

More specific on agriculture:
- Zilberman D., Marra M., Agricultural Externalities, in G.A. Carlson, D. Zilberman and J.A. Miranowski (eds) Agricultural and Environmental Resource Economics, New York, Oxford University Press, 1993


A general handbook on environmental impact of plan protection products (PPPs):
-Matthews GA (2006). Pesticides: health, safety, and the environment. 235 pp Oxford, UK., Blackwell Publishing.

The most important EU directive in the water field:
-The EU Water Framework Directive - integrated river basin management for Europe - Directive 2000/60/EC of the European parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy. Available at


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Ultimo aggiornamento: 17/07/2012 09:52
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