Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Land tenure reform and grassland degradation in Inner Mongolia, China
Liu, Min ; Dries, Liesbeth ; Heijman, Wim ; Zhu, Xueqin ; Deng, Xiangzheng ; Huang, Jikun - \ 2019
China Economic Review 55 (2019). - ISSN 1043-951X - p. 181 - 198.
China - Fixed effects model - Grassland degradation - Land tenure reform - Privatisation

Since the start of the land tenure reform in the pastoral areas of China in the 1980s, grassland use rights have increasingly been assigned to individual households. However, this period has also been accompanied by extensive grassland degradation in China, which has raised the question of whether a tragedy of privatisation has occurred. This paper investigates the impact of land tenure reform on the changes in grassland condition, using data from 60 counties in Inner Mongolia between 1985 and 2008. A fixed effects model is employed to control for time-invariant factors. Two alternative model specifications in terms of land tenure reform and time-variant factors are conducted to verify the robustness of the estimation results. The results show that land tenure reform did not affect the grassland condition significantly, and the major drivers of grassland degradation include the land use change and the increase in market demand (meat prices). Thereby, we provide empirical evidence that the privatisation of grasslands did not cause grassland degradation in Inner Mongolia, China.

Discounting in the presence of scarce ecosystem services
Zhu, Xueqin ; Smulders, Sjak ; Zeeuw, Aart de - \ 2019
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 98 (2019). - ISSN 0095-0696
Consumption value - Discount rate - Ecosystem services - Growth rate - Production value - Ramsey balanced growth

The discount rate for cost-benefit analysis has to take account of future scarcity of ecosystem services in consumption and production. Previous literature focuses on the first aspect and shows the importance of the relative price effect, for given growth rates of consumption and ecosystem services. This paper focuses on intermediate ecosystem services in production and shows that for limited substitutability and a low growth rate of these ecosystem services, the growth rate of consumption, and thus the discount rate, declines towards a low value. Using a Ramsey growth model, the paper distinguishes three cases. If ecosystem services can be easily substituted, the discount rate converges to the usual value in the long term. Secondly, if ecosystem services can be easily substituted in production but not in consumption, the relative price effect is important. Finally, and most interestingly, if ecosystem services cannot be easily substituted in production, the discount rate declines towards a low value and the relative price effect is less important. Another part of the previous literature has shown that a declining discount rate is the result of introducing several forms of uncertainty, but this paper reaches that conclusion from an endogenous effect on the growth rate of the economy.

Persistence of land reallocations in Chinese villages: The role of village democracy and households’ knowledge of policy
Ren, Guangcheng ; Zhu, Xueqin ; Heerink, Nico ; Feng, S. ; Ierland, Ekko C. van - \ 2019
Journal of Rural Studies (2019). - ISSN 0743-0167
China - Households' knowledge of policy - Land reallocations - Land tenure security - Village democracy

Land reallocations have been severely restricted in rural China since 1998. Nevertheless, land continues to be reallocated in some regions. Little is known about the forces behind the persistence of land reallocations. In this paper we argue that village self-governance rules affect the implementation of national laws and regulations, and that the election of village leaders and villagers' knowledge of relevant policies are major forces in the use of village self-governance rules for land reallocations. Estimation results based on primary data collected from 124 villages in four provinces in 2015 and 2016 provide evidence that both village democracy and households’ knowledge of the Rural Land Contract Law (RLCL) positively affect the incidence of land reallocations.

Land tenure reform and grassland degradation in inner Mongolia, China
Liu, M. ; Dries, L.K.E. ; Heijman, W.J.M. ; Zhu, X. ; Deng, Xiangzheng ; Jikun Huang, - \ 2019
land tenure reform - privatisation - grassland degradation - fixed effects model - China
Since the start of the land tenure reform in the pastoral areas of China in the 1980s, grassland use rights have increasingly been assigned to individual households and subsequently more grasslands have been in private use. However, in the same period, most of the grasslands in China have experienced degradation. The question that this paper tries to address is whether the land tenure reform plays a significant role in grassland degradation. It is answered by an empirical analysis of the impact of land tenure reform on the changes in grassland condition, using data from 60 counties in Inner Mongolia between 1985 and 2008. Grassland condition is presented by grassland quantity and quality using spatial information based on remote sensing. The timing of the assignment of grassland use rights and the timing of the actual adoption of private use by households differ among counties. These timing differences and differences in grassland condition among counties allow disentangling the impact of the land tenure reform. A fixed effects model is used to control for climate, agricultural activity and the time-invariant heterogeneity among counties. The model results show that the private use of grasslands following the land tenure reform has had significantly negative effects on grassland quality and quantity in Inner Mongolia. Moreover, the negative effects did not disappear even after several years of experience with private use. In conclusion, our analysis reveals that the land tenure reform, namely privatisation of grassland use rights, is a significant driver of grassland degradation in Inner Mongolia in a long term, which presents "a tragedy of privatisation", as opposed to the well-known "tragedy of the commons".
Perceptions of Land Tenure Security in Rural China: The Impact of Land Reallocations and Certification
Ren, Guangcheng ; Zhu, Xueqin ; Heerink, Nico ; Feng, Shuyi ; Ierland, Ekko van - \ 2019
Society & Natural Resources 32 (2019)12. - ISSN 0894-1920 - p. 1399 - 1415.
Household perceptions - land certificates - land tenure security - probit model - rural China

Tenure security is commonly recognized as an important factor in stimulating long-term investments in land. Recent studies suggest that a distinction between legal, actual and perceived tenure security needs to be made in analyzing tenure security. This study discusses the relationships between legal, actual and perceived land tenure security in rural China, and empirically examines the impact of actual on perceived land tenure security by applying Probit models to household and village survey data collected in four provinces. Using household expectations about the absence of land reallocations within the next five years as the dependent variable, we find that tenure security is positively affected by the possession of land certificates in villages that periodically reallocated land but not in villages that did not do so. The estimated impact is larger for land certificates issued in the new round of land certification than for land certificates that were issued earlier.

The resilience of social norms of cooperation under resource scarcity and inequality — An agent-based model on sharing water over two harvesting seasons
Nhim, Tum ; Richter, Andries ; Zhu, Xueqin - \ 2019
Ecological Complexity 40 (2019)B. - ISSN 1476-945X
Agent-based modeling - Cooperation - Inequality - Resilience - Resource scarcity - Social-ecological systems

Water governance remains a challenge for human societies, especially when the variation in resource inflow is large and the resource users are heterogeneous. We analyze with a coupled social-ecological systems (SES) model how socioeconomic and environmental changes affect the resilience of social norms governing resource use. In our model, agents have access to water as a common-pool resource and allocate it between rainy and dry seasons. While it is socially optimal to save water for the dry season, it is individually optimal to take water immediately. In our model, punishment of norm violators is the mechanism that may sustain cooperation. We show that the resilience of social norms could be affected by changes in socioeconomic and environmental conditions. Particularly, we find that social norms may collapse in times of resource scarcity and variability, especially if several drivers act in concert. Finally, we find that user heterogeneity in the form of different skills and inequality in land endowments may undermine cooperation. This implies that climatic changes and increased inequality – both potential drivers in the field – may affect community resilience and may lead to an erosion of social norms.

The impact of agri-environmental policies and production intensification on the environmental performance of Dutch dairy farms
Skevas, Ioannis ; Zhu, X. ; Shestalova, Victoria ; Emvalomatis, Grigorios - \ 2018
Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 43 (2018)3. - ISSN 1068-5502 - p. 423 - 440.
hyperbolic efficience - policy evaluation - subsidies
This study examines the impact of policies and intensification on the environmental performance of Dutch dairy farms in the period 2001–2010 using a hyperbolic distance function. The results indicate that the change from the Mineral Accounting System to the combination of the Application Standards Policy with decoupled payments has not significantly changed farms’ hyperbolic efficiency. Farms receiving agri-environmental and animal welfare payments are less hyperbolically efficient than those that do not, highlighting greater decreases in desirable outputs than decreases in undesirable outputs. Finally, intensification increases hyperbolic efficiency,suggesting that intensive practices may increase production without harming the environment.
Production of bioplastics for agricultural purposes : A supply chain study
Prosperi, Maurizio ; Sisto, Roberta ; Lombardi, Mariarosaria ; Zhu, Xueqin - \ 2018
Rivista di Studi sulla Sostenibilita (2018)1. - ISSN 2239-1959 - p. 119 - 136.
Biodegradable mulching films - Bioplastic - Circular economy - Organic fraction of municipal solid waste - Supply chain - Sustainable agriculture

Municipal solid waste is continuously increasing in the world. Since it contains a significant amount of organic matter, the treatment of Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste (OFMSW) represents a relevant challenge for sustainable development. This waste fraction, may produce a number of valuable commodities. The paper focuses on some specific substances, which are suitable for the production of biodegradable plastic materials and that may be used for the production of agricultural soil mulching films. The aim of this study is to investigate on the structure of this potential supply chain, from the collection or separation of OFMSW, to the commercialisation of biodegradable mulching films, in order to identifying the possible bottlenecks hindering its development.

Evaluation of Climate Change Adaptation Alternatives for Smallholder Farmers in the Upper Blue-Nile Basin
Nigussie, Yalemzewd ; Werf, Edwin van der; Zhu, Xueqin ; Simane, Belay ; Ierland, Ekko C. van - \ 2018
Ecological Economics 151 (2018). - ISSN 0921-8009 - p. 142 - 150.
Adaptation - Agriculture - Climate change - Ethiopia - Multi-criteria analysis - Stakeholders

Climate change is expected to have severe negative impacts on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in developing countries. However, smallholder farmers and governments in these regions tend to be ill-prepared for the impacts of climate change. We present the results of a stakeholder-based multi-criteria analysis of climate change adaptation options for agriculture, natural resource management and water management in the upper Blue-Nile basin in Ethiopia. We use the PROMETHEE II outranking method to analyse data from a survey in which farmers and experts were asked to evaluate adaptation options based on potentially conflicting criteria. Adaptation options for soil and land management, such as crop rotation and composting, score high based on two sets of criteria for assessing adaptation options for agriculture. River diversion, preventing leaching and erosion, and drip irrigation are ranked highest as adaptation options for water management. Regarding natural resource management, the highest ranked adaptation options are afforestation, water retention and maximizing crop yield. Rankings by farmers and by experts are weakly correlated for agriculture and water management, and negatively correlated for natural resource management, which shows the importance of extension services and of involving farmers in the decision-making process to ensure the feasibility of adaptation options.

Income Groups, Social Capital, and Collective Action on Small-Scale Irrigation Facilities : A Multigroup Analysis Based on a Structural Equation Model
Miao, Shanshan ; Heijman, Wim ; Zhu, Xueqin ; Qiao, Dan ; Lu, Qian - \ 2018
Rural Sociology 83 (2018)4. - ISSN 0036-0112 - p. 882 - 911.
This article examines whether relationships between social capital characteristics and the willingness of farmers to cooperate in collective action is moderated by the farmers' income level. We employed a structural equation model to analyze the influence of social capital components (social networks, interpersonal trust, social reciprocity, and social participation) on the willingness of farmers to cooperate in collective small-scale irrigation in Guangling County, Shanxi Province of China. This analysis was complemented by a multigroup analysis to measure the potential variance effects across income groups. Our results show that low- and middle-income farmers give more importance to the aspects of social networks, social reciprocity, and social participation, while high-income farmers place emphasis on interpersonal trust and social participation. Accordingly, the willingness of farmers to cooperate for the different income groups was influenced in different ways in relation to the various social capital components. Therefore, social capital and income differences have complex effects on the willingness of farmers to cooperate. In this regard, our research provides an alternative way to understand the complex process involved in the formation of collective action under the presence of increasing economic heterogeneity in local communities.
The Impact of Ecological Construction Programs on Grassland Conservation in Inner Mongolia, China
Liu, Min ; Dries, Liesbeth ; Heijman, Wim ; Huang, Jikun ; Zhu, Xueqin ; Hu, Yuanning ; Chen, Haibin - \ 2018
Land Degradation and Development 29 (2018)2. - ISSN 1085-3278 - p. 326 - 336.
Ecological Construction Programs - fixed effects model - grassland degradation - Inner Mongolia - NDVI
A series of Ecological Construction Programs have been initiated to protect the condition of grasslands in China during recent decades. However, grassland degradation is still severe, and conditions have not been restored as intended. This paper aims to empirically examine the effectiveness of these programs for protecting the grassland condition in the extensive pastoral areas of China. We focus on one major program that has been implemented widely on the grasslands, the Subsidy and Incentive System for Grassland Conservation (SISGC). The normalized difference vegetation index, measured with remote sensing technology, is used to quantify the grassland condition between 2001 and 2014. With data from 54 counties in the pastoral areas of Inner Mongolia, we estimate the impact of SISGC on the grassland condition. A fixed effects model is employed to control for livestock production, climate, time trends, and time-invariant heterogeneity between counties. The model results provide quantitative evidence that the condition of the grasslands has improved significantly because of SISGC; but that the effectiveness of SISGC was offset to some extent by other socio-economic and climate factors, such as increased producer prices and high temperature. This may explain why the actual grassland degradation has not been prevented as effectively as was expected. In addition, the impact of SISGC was stronger in counties with worse initial grassland condition. Furthermore, the effects of producer prices and climate changes were also more pronounced in these counties.
Identify stakeholders' understandings of life cycle assessment results on wastewater related issues
Bai, Shunwen ; Zhu, Xueqin ; Wang, Xiuheng ; Ren, Nanqi - \ 2018
Science of the Total Environment 622-623 (2018). - ISSN 0048-9697 - p. 869 - 874.
Conjoint analysis - Life cycle assessment - Stakeholders' preferences - Waste management
To facilitate decision-making processes in waste management, it is important to not only evaluate environmental impacts, but also to measure how stakeholders form opinions and make choices based one valuation results. Life cycle assessments (LCAs) have been widely used to evaluate environmental impacts; however, LCAs cannot be used to measure how people make judgments based on evaluation results. As such, in this study, we combined LCA with conjoint analysis, an economic method that allows individuals to consider all factors and demonstrate their preferences simultaneously. We used this combined method in a case study on wastewater treatment, and obtained two major types of estimation results: (1) the relative importance of each impact category of LCA, and (2) the overall preferences of respondents for each alternative. This study also highlighted some issues regarding the combination of methodologies, such as the selection of impact categories in LCA, the conversion of impact categories into understandable attributes for conjoint analysis, and weaknesses in conjoint analysis that need to be addressed and corrected in future studies.
How does land tenure reform impact upon pastoral livestock production? An empirical study for Inner Mongolia, China
Liu, Min ; Huang, Jikun ; Dries, Liesbeth ; Heijman, Wim ; Zhu, Xueqin - \ 2017
China Economic Review (2017). - ISSN 1043-951X - 15 p.
Fixed effects model - Livestock population - Livestock productivity - Meat output - Property right - Use right

This paper investigates how land tenure reform has affected livestock production in the pastoral areas of China. County-level data for Inner Mongolia between 1985 and 2008 are used in a fixed effects model to disentangle the effects of land tenure reform on livestock production from factors related to market forces, grassland condition, technological development and environmental heterogeneity. The results show that the implementation of the land tenure reform slowed down the increase in livestock production, although it did not completely stop this increase. It therefore appears that land reform is in itself unable to offset the impact of other factors that accelerate the increase in livestock production. Moreover, the constraining effect of the land tenure reform on the increase in livestock production decreases over time, and ultimately disappears. Finally, the constraining effect of the land tenure reform was shown to be stronger on the increase of the livestock population than on that of meat output. This indicates that the land tenure reform has helped to improve livestock productivity.

Trade reform in Iran for accession to the World Trade Organization : Analysis of welfare and environmental impacts
Farajzadeh, Zakariya ; Zhu, Xueqin ; Bakhshoodeh, Mohammad - \ 2017
Economic Modelling 63 (2017). - ISSN 0264-9993 - p. 75 - 85.
Computable general equilibrium models - Economic welfare - Emissions - Iran - Trade - World Trade Organization
We developed a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model to study the potential welfare and environmental impacts of Iran's trade reform for accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Our results show that removing trade barriers not only results in higher welfare and GDP as well as lower prices due to efficiency gains, but also reduces emissions of greenhouse gases in terms of CO2 equivalent. Emissions reductions stem from changes in output composition and lower energy use, despite an offsetting increase in emissions induced by the final consumption of non-energy products due to higher income. Particularly, removing import barriers completely (i.e. full liberalization) would increase Iran's GDP by 8.9%, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in CO2 equivalents by 3%. It would generate a welfare gain of 13.2% and 9.3% for urban and rural households, respectively, suggesting that removing the trade barriers would increase the inequality between households in favour of urban and high income groups.
Nash bargaining solutions for international climate agreements under different sets of bargaining weights
Yu, S. ; Ierland, E.C. van; Weikard, H.P. ; Zhu, X. - \ 2017
International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics 17 (2017)5. - ISSN 1567-9764 - p. 709 - 729.
Bargaining power - Climate agreements - International environmental agreements - Optimal transfers - STACO model
Bargaining is a tool to share collaborative gains and to facilitate reaching agreement. To improve incentives to join an international climate agreement (ICA), the Nash bargaining solution can be used to distribute cooperative gains across signatories. In this paper, we examine how the formation of ICAs and their mitigation efficiency are impacted by the use of the Nash bargaining solution. In a Nash bargaining game with heterogeneous players, bargaining powers are unequal and may be driven by different characteristics of the players. We employ different sets of asymmetric bargaining weights in order to examine the effectiveness of climate coalitions that emerge as stable agreements. Using the Nash bargaining solution, we obtain results from the stability of coalition model (STACO). We find that the Nash bargaining solution can improve the participation incentives and performances of ICAs as compared to agreements that do not redistribute gains from cooperation, but its capacity to overcome free-riding incentives is limited. However, if Nash bargaining accounts for outside options of players, we find larger stable coalitions and higher global abatement levels. In fact, Nash bargaining with outside options can stabilise the largest coalitions that can possibly be stable in our game.
How should urban water be priced? – An empirical analysis for the city of Mekelle, Ethiopia
Gezahegn, Tafesse W. ; Zhu, Xueqin - \ 2017
Urban Water Journal 14 (2017)4. - ISSN 1573-062X - p. 409 - 415.
Marginal social cost - marginal value - Mekelle - natural water - translog cost function

Urban water utilities have focused on setting water prices to cover average costs, usually using increasing block rate designs. In an attempt to contribute to the use of efficient, equitable, and revenue-sufficient pricing, this paper estimates the long-run marginal and average social costs of water supply in Mekelle city using a multi-product translog cost function that incorporates the shadow price of natural water. Findings show that the marginal social costs of providing one m3 of residential and non-residential water are Birr 5.33 and 7.71 (Birr = Ethiopian currency: 1 Euro ≈ 23 Birr), respectively, while the average current prices are Birr 4.46 and 6.10/m3. On the other hand, the average social costs of residential and non-residential water are estimated at Birr 14.34 and 16.36/m3, respectively, implying that marginal social cost-based prices would still lead to a revenue deficit of approximately Birr 9/m3.

International carbon trade with constrained allowance choices : Results from the STACO model
Yu, S. ; Weikard, H.P. ; Zhu, X. ; Ierland, E.C. van - \ 2017
Annals of Operations Research 255 (2017)1-2. - ISSN 0254-5330 - p. 95 - 116.
Allowance choice - Carbon markets - International carbon trade - International climate agreements - STACO model

International carbon markets are advocated in order to involve more countries in an agreement for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce the costs of mitigation. In this paper we develop a model where allowances are endogenously determined by each member of a carbon trade agreement, but with an exogenous constraint on the number of allowances per member. We use a global model to explore the incentives for regions to participate in such a carbon market and we examine its performance. To gain practical policy insights, we employ the STACO model, a numerically calibrated model with twelve world regions. Our results show that the stability and effectiveness of an international carbon market can be improved by imposing constraints on individual allowance choices compared to a carbon market without such constraints. Constraints on allowance choices reduce ‘hot air’ and increase global welfare and mitigation. When tightening the constraint ‘broad but shallow’ agreements are replaced by ‘narrow but deep’ ones. If the constraint is too tight, however, no stable carbon market exists.

Estimation of river flood damages in Jakarta, Indonesia
Wijayanti, P. ; Zhu, X. ; Hellegers, P.J.G.J. ; Budiyono, Y. ; Ierland, E.C. van - \ 2016
Natural Hazards 86 (2016)3. - ISSN 0921-030X - p. 1059 - 1079.
Flood damage - Survey - Damage scanner - Jakarta
Flooding is a serious problem in Jakarta, and detailed estimation of flood damage is necessary to design optimal flood management strategies. This study aims to estimate flood damage in a densely populated area in Jakarta by means of a survey, to develop the relationship between flood characteristics and flood damage, and to compare the damage estimates from the survey with the damage estimates obtained by a flood damage model for Jakarta, i.e. the damage scanner model. We collected data on economic losses of the January 2013 flood in a survey of flood-affected households and business units in Pesanggrahan River. The actual flood damage in the survey area is US$ 0.5 million for the residential sector and US$ 0.7 million for the business sector. The flood damage for a similar event in the same area based on the damage scanner model is estimated to be US$ 1.3 million for the residential sector and US$ 9.2 million for the business sector. The flood damage estimates obtained by the survey approach are lower compared to the damage scanner approach due to different ways in obtaining flood damage data and in defining the maximum flood damage per object, the different spatial levels of analysis, and uncertainties in constructing the flood damage curves that were applied in the damage scanner
Regime Shifts and Resilience in Fisheries Management : A Case Study of the Argentinean Hake fishery
Li, Chuan Zhong ; Villasante, Sebastian ; Zhu, Xueqin - \ 2016
Environmental and Resource Economics 65 (2016)3. - ISSN 0924-6460 - p. 623 - 637.
Argentinean hake fishery (Merluccius hubbsi) - Corrective tax - Marine ecosystems - Regime shifts - Resilience

We investigate the role of potential regime shifts in Argentinean hake fishery and the inter-linkage between ecological and economic resilience. We develop a theoretical model incorporated with the hazard function for resource management under alternative conditions, and derive the corrective tax. Applying the model to the case of Argentinean hake fishery, we obtain insights for fishery management in the presence of risk for a regime shift. Based on three value functions, our model simulation indicates that the higher the relative loss from the fishery collapse, the more important the risk management would be with the resilience value taken into account. A higher level of fish stock leads to a higher optimized value and a lower corrective tax rate. When the stock level is lower, we need to introduce a higher tax rate to best avoid the fishery collapse. Decomposing the marginal value of the fish stock into a stock service value for fish production and a resilience value for flip risk reduction, we find that a higher fish stock leads to a lower tax rate because of the higher resilience of the fish stock, and hence the corrective tax rate as an instrument for managing fishery becomes less important.

Social science perspectives on the bio-economy
Dries, Liesbeth ; Klomp, Jeroen ; Ophem, Johan van; Zhu, Xueqin - \ 2016
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences (2016). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 1 - 4.
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