Research Fellows Directory
Professor Ian Bateman
University of East Anglia
Most decisions regarding how resources should be used are driven by markets and the prices that they generate. Most of the UK is farmed and here decisions regarding which crops to grow and what levels of inputs such as fertilizers to use, are driven by the market prices of the goods that will be produced. While this has many advantages, there are some important downsides as well. For example, the true cost of the water pollution caused by fertilizers is not reflected in either farm costs or food prices. There are multiple examples of these ‘external costs’ arising from alternative land uses. This research sets out to bringing these ‘externalities’ into both business and (initially) government policy decision making by addressing their fundamental sources:
1. Looking at the full effect of alternative land uses using natural science knowledge to highlighting the interconnected ‘systems’ nature of land use;
2. Bringing the full impacts of land use into real world decisions by valuing all externalities in the same economic units as the marketed outputs of land use.
Work conducted in the present period of this research has provided combined natural science and economic analyses of the effects of land use (and its change) upon water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, habitats and biodiversity, recreation – and of course food production and associated incomes. Results to date have demonstrated that enormous improvements can be achieved at no extra cost simply through changing existing land use policies.