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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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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. 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.
  2. Bernhard, Pierre, 2002. "Survey Of Linear Quadratic Robust Control," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 19-39, February.
  3. Heal, G., 1999. "Biodiversity as a Commodity," Papers 99-7, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  4. Nehring,K. und C.Puppe, 1999. "A Theory of Diversity," Discussion Paper Serie A 605, University of Bonn, Germany.
  5. Terrance Hurley & Silvia Secchi & Bruce Babcock & Richard Hellmich, 2002. "Managing the Risk of European Corn Borer Resistance to Bt Corn," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(4), pages 537-558, August.
  6. Andrew Metrick & Martin L. Weitzman, 1998. "Conflicts and Choices in Biodiversity Preservation," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1836, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. 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.
  8. Martin L. Weitzman, 1998. "The Noah's Ark Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1279-1298, November.
  9. Martin L. Weitzman, 2000. "Economic Profitability Versus Ecological Entropy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 237-263, February.
  10. Weitzman, M.L., 1991. "On Diversity," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1553, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Gardner M. Brown & Jason F. Shogren, 1998. "Economics of the Endangered Species Act," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 3-20, Summer.
  16. 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.
  17. Brock,W. & Xepapadeas,A., 2000. "Optimal ecosystem management when species compete for limiting resources," Working papers 27, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. repec:cup:macdyn:v:6:y:2002:i:1:p:19-39 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. 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.
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