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Uncertain future preferences and conservation

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Author Info

  • Chichilnisky, Graciela
  • Beltratti, Andrea
  • Heal, Geoffrey

Abstract

An important problem in environmental economics arises from te irreversibility of consuming or destroying certain resources. Extractive resources like oil are a clear example. Even for environmental resources the same seems to be true in a number of environmental cases, for example biodiversity, current climate conditions, or complex ecological systems. Irreversibility imposes a sever externality across different generations; future generations will suffer from the destruction of a unique asset like Amazonia, and it is not clear how such a loss could be compensated in terms of other goods. If such an asset is destroyed, then it is not possible to subsequently restore it. In contrast, if the asset is preserved, then it is possible to "use" the asset at a subsequent date. If there is uncertainty about future preferences or valuations, then preservation provides a type of insurance which is not available if the irreversible decision is carried out.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 7912.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:7912

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Related research

Keywords: biodiversity; climate change; ecological systems; externality; future; preferences; environmental; environment; irreversible; resources; natural resources;

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References

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  1. Fisher, Anthony C. & Hanemann, W. Michael, 1987. "Quasi-option value: Some misconceptions dispelled," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 183-190, June.
  2. Bohm, Peter, 1975. "Option Demand and Consumer's Surplus: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(4), pages 733-36, September.
  3. Heal, Geoffrey M., 1993. "The optimal use of exhaustible resources," Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, in: A. V. Kneese† & J. L. Sweeney (ed.), Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 18, pages 855-880 Elsevier.
  4. Henry, Claude, 1974. "Investment Decisions Under Uncertainty: The "Irreversibility Effect."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 1006-12, December.
  5. Kip Viscusi, W., 1988. "Irreversible environmental investments with uncertain benefit levels," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 147-157, June.
  6. Asheim, G.B. & Brekke, K.A., 1993. "Sustainability when Resource Management has Stochastic Consequences," Papers 01-93, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  7. Arrow, Kenneth J & Fisher, Anthony C, 1974. "Environmental Preservation, Uncertainty, and Irreversibility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 312-19, May.
  8. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  9. Andrea Beltratti & Graciela Chichilnisky & Geoffrey Heal, 1993. "Sustainable Growth and the Green Golden Rule," NBER Working Papers 4430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Hanemann, W. Michael, 1989. "Information and the concept of option value," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 23-37, January.
  11. Kip Viscusi, W., 1985. "Environmental policy choice with an uncertain chance of irreversibility," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 28-44, March.
  12. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Heal, Geoffrey & Beltratti, Andrea, 1995. "The Green Golden Rule," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 175-179, August.
  13. Schmalensee, Richard, 1972. "Option Demand and Consumer's Surplus: Valuing Price Changes under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 813-24, December.
  14. Carson, Richard T. & Hanemann, W. Michael, 2006. "Contingent Valuation," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 17, pages 821-936 Elsevier.
  15. Krautkraemer, Jeffrey A, 1985. "Optimal Growth, Resource Amenities, and the Preservation of Natural Environments," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 153-70, January.
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