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Public: Private Benefits Framework

... provides a simple graphical approach that spells out the logic for selecting the most appropriate class of policy tool for influencing the behaviour of private individuals in cases where their actions have positive or negative impacts on others in the community. It was developed in the context of land-use change for environmental management, but is relevant more broadly.



The paper in the US journal Land Economics about the Public: Private Benefits Framework received the annual award for "Quality of Research Discovery" from the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, 2009.

The original journal article is the most cited paper in Land Economics published since 2005, with 137 citations (Scopus.com) or 274 citations (Google Scholar) as of 14 August 2019.


Documents describing the PPBF

Brief summary and overview. Three pager (35K)

Latest version of full paper: Use this as the standard version of the basic framework. It is basically the same as the original journal article, but has been updated a bit in relation to technology change. Full paper (pdf)

Latest versions (2015) of the standard PPBF graphs here (66K PowerPoint file)

The original journal article: Pannell, D.J. (2008). Public benefits, private benefits, and policy intervention for land-use change for environmental benefits, Land Economics 84(2): 225-240. Available at the journal web site. The latest version (above) is a little different to this journal article due to additional insight into technology change that emerged when I wrote the following paper.

Second journal paper with a focus on technology change: Pannell, D.J. (2008). Public benefits, private benefits and policy mechanism choice for land-use change: technology change, INFFER Working Paper 0801, University of Western Australia. Full paper (117K pdf file). First presented at 52nd Annual Conference of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, Canberra, 5-8 Feb 2008. Published as: Pannell, D.J. (2009). Technology change as a policy response to promote changes in land management for environmental benefits, Agricultural Economics 40(1), 95-102.  

Third journal article, focussing on "lifestyle" landholders: Pannell, D.J. and Wilkinson, R. (2008). Policy mechanism choice for environmental management by non-commercial “lifestyle” rural landholders, Ecological Economics 68: 2679-2687. Available online at journal web site. Available as INFFER Working Paper 0807, University of Western Australia. Full paper (165K pdf)

An article that makes use of the PPBF to analyse options for afforestation in New Zealand: Barry, L.E., Yao, R.T., Harrison, D.R., Paragahawewa, U.H. and Pannell, D.J. (2014). Enhancing ecosystem services through afforestation: How policy can help, Land Use Policy 39, 135-145. Journal web site

An article that makes use of the PPBF to analyse options for catchment managment in New South Wales: Nordblom, T.L., Hume, I.H., Finlayson, J.D., Pannell, D.J., Holland, J.E. and McClintock, A.J. (2015). Distributional consequences of upstream tree plantations on downstream water users in a public-private benefit framework, Agricultural Systems 139, 271-281. Journal web site

PowerPoint presentation of the PPBF here (555K)

Excel files containing the calculations and graphs used in: latest version of full paper (820K) original journal article (600K) second journal article on technology development (750K) third journal article on lifestyle landholders (1642K).

Frequently asked questions

See here for responses to the sorts of questions that people have typically asked when learning about the PPBF or attempting to apply it.

Reports and papers that have made use of the PPBF

Here are some of the reports and papers that have applied the PPBF.

Parra-López, C. , Groot, J.C.J. , Carmona-Torres, C., and Rossing, W.A.H. (2009). An integrated approach for ex-ante evaluation of public policies for sustainable agriculture at landscape level, Land Use Policy 26(4): 1020-1030. Abstract on line here.

Plots public and private net benefits for a wide range of land use configurations in a region of the Netherlands.


Collins, D. and Whitten, S. (2007). Use of market based instruments by Catchment Management Authorities in NSW to achieve landscape scale change, Report to the NSW CMA Chairs’ Council, BDA Group and CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems. I recommend this paper, download it here.

Campbell, D., Davies, J. and Wakerman, J. (2008). Facilitating complementary inputs and scoping economies in the joint supply of health and environmental services in Aboriginal central Australia, Remote and Rural Health 8: 1010. (Online), www.rrh.org.au

Campbell, D., Davies, J. and Wakerman, J. (2007). Realising economies in the joint supply of health and environmental services in Aboriginal central Australia, Working Paper 11, Desert Knowledge CRC, Alice Springs.


Grafton, Q. (2007), An economic evaluation of the National Plan for Water Security, in Grafton, Q. Bennett, J. and Hussey, K. (eds), Dry Water, Policy Briefs, Crawford School of Economics and Government, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. Download it here.
Kaine, G., Ford, J., Leth, M. and Johnson, F. (2007). Policy Choice Framework, Practice Change Research Working Paper 02/07, Department of Primary Industries, Victoria. Available here.
John Rolfe, Judith Wake, Will Higham, Jill Windle and Phillip Trendell. (2009). Best management practice adoption in the sugar industry for improving water quality: the Mackay Whitsunday region, Consortium for Integrated Resource Management, Coorparoo, QLD. Report on-line here.
Cary, J. and Roberts, A. (2011). The limitations of environmental management systems in Australian agriculture, Journal of Environmental Management 92: 878-885. Abstract on line here.
Sanz-Cobena, A. et al. (2016). Strategies for greenhouse gas emissions mitigation in Mediterranean agriculture: A review, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment (in press).
  The above are some of the many citations to the PPBF (207 of them according to Google Scholar, with 105 in journal articles according to Scopus.com).
Related work

INFFER: Investment Framework For Environmental Resources, Home page

The SIF3 framework, Home page

Pannell, D.J., Marshall, G.R., Barr, N., Curtis, A., Vanclay, F. and Wilkinson, R.(2006). Understanding and promoting adoption of conservation practices by rural landholders. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 46(11): 1407-1424. If you or your organisation subscribes to the Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture you can access the above paper at: https://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/72/paper/EA05037.htm (or non-subscribers can buy a copy on-line for A$25). Otherwise, email [email protected] to ask for a copy.  

Discussion papers

The following are the original discussion papers that outlined elements of the framework and stitched them together. You shouldn't use these as the main reference source but they may be useful when learning about the framework as they are a bit more in plain language than the journal article and they go into a bit more depth.

73.  Public and private benefits and policy choices  1 May 2006

74.  Public and private benefits and incentives  8 May 2006

75.  Public and private benefits, incentives and lags  15 May 2006

76.  Public and private benefits and extension  22 May 2006

78.  Public and private benefits and negative incentives  5 Jun 2006

79.  Public and private benefits and technology  12 Jun 2006

80 Public and private benefits: conclusion  19 Jun 2006

URL for this page: dpannell.fnas.uwa.edu.au/ppf.htm
Copyright © David J. Pannell, 2008-15
Last revised: August 14, 2019.