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Valuing Biodiversity from an Economic Perspective: A Unified Economic, Ecological, and Genetic Approach

  • William A. Brock
  • Anastasios Xepapadeas

We develop a conceptual framework for valuing biodiversity from an economic perspective. We argue for a dynamic economic welfare measure of biodiversity that complements the literature on benefit-cost approaches and genetic distance/phylogenic tree approaches. Using a unified model of optimal economic management of an ecosystem under ecological and genetic constraints, we identify gains from management policies leading to a more diverse system, using the Bellman state valuation function of the problem. We show that a more diverse system could attain a higher value although the genetic distance of the species in the more diverse system could be almost zero.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 93 (2003)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 1597-1614

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:93:y:2003:i:5:p:1597-1614
Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282803322655464
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  1. Martin L. Weitzman, 1998. "The Noah's Ark Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1279-1298, November.
  2. Hurley, Terrance M. & Secchi, Silvia & Babcock, Bruce A. & Hellmich, Richard L., 2002. "Managing the Risk of European Corn Borer Resistance to Bt Corn," Staff General Research Papers 10294, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Andrew Metrick & Martin L. Weitzman, 1998. "Conflicts and Choices in Biodiversity Preservation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 21-34, Summer.
  4. Weitzman, Martin L., 2000. "Economic Profitability Versus Ecological Entropy," Scholarly Articles 3693703, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Dasgupta, Partha & M Ler, Karl-G Ran, 2000. "Net national product, wealth, and social well-being," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 69-93, February.
  6. Simpson, R David & Sedjo, Roger A & Reid, John W, 1996. "Valuing Biodiversity for Use in Pharmaceutical Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 163-85, February.
  7. Terrance M. Hurley & Silvia Secchi & Bruce A. Babcock, 1999. "Managing the Risk of European Corn Borer Resistance to Transgenic Corn: An Assessment of Refuge Recommendations," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 99-sr88, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
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  12. Weitzman, Martin L, 1993. "What to Preserve? An Application of Diversity Theory to Crane Conservation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(1), pages 157-83, February.
  13. Brock, William & Xepapadeas, Anastasios, 2002. "Optimal Ecosystem Management when Species Compete for Limiting Resources," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 189-220, September.
  14. Amy Craft & R. Simpson, 2001. "The Value of Biodiversity in Pharmaceutical Research with Differentiated Products," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 18(1), pages 1-17, January.
  15. Heal, G., 1999. "Biodiversity as a Commodity," Papers 99-7, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  16. Polasky Stephen & Solow Andrew R., 1995. "On the Value of a Collection of Species," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 298-303, November.
  17. Stephen Polasky & Andrew Solow & James Broadus, 1993. "Searching For Uncertain Benefits and the Conservation Of Biological Diversity," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 208, Boston College Department of Economics.
  18. Chuan-Zhong Li & Karl-Gustaf Löfgren & Martin Weitzman, 2001. "Harvesting versus Biodiversity: An Occam's Razor Version," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 18(4), pages 355-366, April.
  19. Solow Andrew & Polasky Stephen & Broadus James, 1993. "On the Measurement of Biological Diversity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 60-68, January.
  20. Bernhard, Pierre, 2002. "Survey Of Linear Quadratic Robust Control," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 19-39, February.
  21. Montgomery, Claire A. & Pollak, Robert A. & Freemark, Kathryn & White, Denis, 1999. "Pricing Biodiversity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 1-19, July.
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