Doole, G. J., & Marsh, D. K. (2013). Methodological limitations in the evaluation of policies to reduce nitrate leaching from New Zealand agriculture. The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, published online 25 September 2013.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/8022
The land-use optimisation framework, NZFARM, has been promoted as a tool that can be used to assess the economic and environmental impacts of policy on regional land use. This paper outlines how methodological limitations presently restrict its capacity to provide meaningful insight into the relative value of alternative land-use configurations. The model is calibrated using positive mathematical programming, which has been shown in the literature to result in models that yield arbitrary output outside of the calibrated baseline. There is a high likelihood that this is the case, as no validation appears to have been carried out. Significant model development will be required before NZFARM outputs can be used with any confidence to inform future policy development. We conclude with suggestions on how NZFARM and models of its kind can be further developed to improve their capacity for meaningful simulation.
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