Providing Agri-environmental Public Goods through Collective Action, "Sweden case study", in OECD,OECD Publishing,OECD (2013).

Authors: Fredrik Holstein 

Chapter 16 in the report “Providing Agri-environmental Public Goods through Collective Action” presents a Swedish case study where the successful co-operation in The Söne Mad Grazing association is explained. Through grazing some typical non-rival and non-exclusive goods (Public goods) such as biodiversity and recreational possibilities are produced.

The members of the association do appreciate these goods, but most of the values are appreciated by the rest of the society. Hence, collective action is not sufficient to solve the problem of efficient production of public goods. Instead, the subsidies paid through the Rural Development Program are the main explanation to why the land is grazed.

Nevertheless, the co-operation does entail cost-savings which is the main factor promoting collective action. The success can be explained by these cost-savings together with the fact that the incentives for non co-operative behavior are small. All members are favored (e.g. by grazing possibilities, lower fencing costs, subsidies and/or landscape related values) and the opportunity cost for the land is very low. Since the value of the fodder is low, there are in practice no incentives for overgrazing. A small group, simple rules on how to distribute net income, tolerance / non-rigidity and high social capital and keeps administrative costs low.


Fredrik Holstein