Watching Corn Grow: A Hedonic Study of the Iowa Landscape

Silvia Secchi
April 2007  [07-WP 445]

Landscape amenities can be scarce in places with large areas of open space. Intensely farmed areas with high levels of monocropping and livestock production are akin to developed open space areas and do not provide many services in terms of landscape amenities. Open space in the form of farmland is plentiful, but parks and their services are in short supply. This issue is of particular importance for public policy because it is closely linked to the impact of externalities caused by agricultural activities and to the indirect effects of land use dynamics. This study looks at the impact of landscape amenities on rural residential property values in five counties in North Central Iowa using a hedonic pricing model based on geographic information systems. The effect of cropland, pasture, forest, and developed land as land uses surrounding the property is considered, as well as the impact of proximity to recreational areas. The study also includes the effect of other disamenities, such as livestock facilities and quarries, which can be considered part of the developed open space and are a common feature of the Iowa landscape.

Keywords: environmental management, hedonic analysis, land use, spatial externalities.

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