This article assesses the potential contribution of economic experiments to evidence-based policy making in the field of agriculture, with a special focus on the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). CAP evaluation mostly relies on standard tools such as farm and market simulation models, calibrated with EU-wide statistical data; statistical and econometric analysis of survey data; and a range of qualitative methods such as interviews with stakeholders, focus group or internet-based public consultation. Yet, the CAP has changed considerably over the past decades, requiring adaptations of its evaluation toolbox. A detailed review of existing studies using economic experiments for designing and evaluating agricultural policies provides the backbone for a comprehensive assessment of the complementarity of experimental approaches with standard evaluation tools. The article further provides recommendations aiming at facilitating inclusion of economic experiments into the CAP evaluation toolbox based on conclusions drawn from a workshop organized with experts, academics, and policy makers of Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission.
Economic experiments as a tool for agricultural policy evaluation: insights from the European CAP
9 March 2016