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date: 17 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The use of laboratory and field economic experiments to explore issues in land economics is increasingly popular as researchers identify problems that cannot be adequately addressed by traditional economic theory or empirical techniques. This article reviews this area’s growing literature as well as offers a framework to understand the trade-offs between issues of experimental control, problem context, and representativeness of participants. The key experiment design elements related to land economics are discussed. These elements are then illustrated by a study of the efficiency of reverse auctions for land conservation given different structures of private and public information. The study results suggest that different levels of public information affect sellers’ bidding behavior as well as competitiveness. Overbidding and too little market competition leads to significant loss of efficiency. These results have implications to how to design ecosystem service market cost effectively.

Keywords: experimental economics, land conservation, reverse auctions, field experiments, laboratory experiments, auction information, auction efficiency, ecosystem service markets, farmland preservation

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