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Regulating Global Biodiversity: What is the Problem?

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  • Tim Swanson

    (Andre Hoffmann Chair of Environmental Economics, Graduate Institute- Geneva, and Director of the Centre for International Environmental Studies)

  • Ben Groom

    (School for Oriental and Asian Studies, University of London)

Abstract

We distinguish between local problems of biodiversity loss and global ones, where international cooperation is required. Global biodiversity regulation involves choosing the optimal stopping rule regarding global land conversions, in order to ensure that some areas of unconverted natural reserves remain to support the production sector that exists on converted lands. The basic difficulty with implementing a solution to this global problem lies in the asymmetry in endowments between those states that have previously converted, and those that have not. We demonstrate that the fundamental problem of global biodiversity regulation is similar to the bargaining problem analysed by Nash, Rubinstein and others. There are benefits from global land conversion, and there must be agreement on their distribution before the conversion process can be halted. Since the institutions addressing global biodiversity problems are either highly ineffectual (benefit sharing agreements, prior informed consent clauses) or very extreme (incremental cost contracts), the biodiversity bargaining problem remains unresolved. For this reason we anticipate that suboptimal conversions will continue to occur, as a way of protesting the ineffective and unfair approaches employed in addressing this problem to date.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2012.31.

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Date of creation: May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2012.31

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Keywords: Global Biodiversity; International Environmental Policy; Nash Bargaining; Rational Threats;

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  1. Timo Goeschl & Timothy Swanson, 2002. "The Social Value of Biodiversity for R&D," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(4), pages 477-504, August.
  2. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Innovation, Technology Transfer, and the World Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 253-66, April.
  3. Jerrell Richer & John K. Stranlund, 1997. "Threat Positions and the Resolution of Environmental Conflicts," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(1), pages 58-71.
  4. Soest, Daan van & Lensink, Robert, 1997. "Foreign transfers and tropical deforestation: what terms of conditionality," Research Report 97C26, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
  5. Polasky, Stephen & Costello, Christopher & McAusland, Carol, 2004. "On trade, land-use, and biodiversity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 911-925, September.
  6. Labbate, Gabriel, 2008. "The incremental cost principle and the conservation of globally important habitats: A critical examination," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 216-224, April.
  7. Timo Goeschl & Timothy Swanson, 2003. "On Biology and Technology: The Economics of Managing Biotechnologies," Working Papers 2003.42, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  8. Susanne Droege & Birgit Soete, 2001. "Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights, North-South Trade, and Biological Diversity," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 19(2), pages 149-163, June.
  9. Nash, John, 1953. "Two-Person Cooperative Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 21(1), pages 128-140, April.
  10. Angelsen, Arild & Kaimowitz, David, 1999. "Rethinking the Causes of Deforestation: Lessons from Economic Models," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 73-98, February.
  11. Scott Barrett, 1994. "The biodiversity supergame," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 4(1), pages 111-122, February.
  12. Rupert Gatti & Timo Goeschl & Ben Groom & Timothy Swanson, 2011. "The Biodiversity Bargaining Problem," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(4), pages 609-628, April.
  13. John K. Stranlund, 1999. "Sunk Capital and Negotiated Resolutions of Environmental Conflicts," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 75(1), pages 142-155.
  14. Sarr, Mare & Goeschl, Timo & Swanson, Tim, 2008. "The value of conserving genetic resources for R&D: A survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 184-193, September.
  15. Elhanan Helpman, 1992. "Innovation, Imitation, and Intellectual Property Rights," NBER Working Papers 4081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Swanson, Timothy, 1996. "The reliance of northern economies on southern biodiversity: biodiversity as information," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-8, April.
  17. Copeland, Brian R., 1990. "Strategic enhancement and destruction of fisheries and the environment in the presence of international externalities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 213-226, November.
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