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A Review of the Economics of Biological Natural Resources

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  • Ben White

Abstract

The economics of renewable biological resources originated in the 1950s in fishery economics. The original models were static and linked simple population growth models to harvesting. In the 1970s the subject became more concerned with dynamic models and the stability of resource systems and this development continued in the 1980s. Now renewable resource economics is seen as a branch of capital theory which is distinct from mainstream capital theory because it must simultaneously represent the productivity of an ecosystem as well as the production functions of the firms which exploit it. Adding to this complex patterns of ownership over the resource itself and the dependence of production on the state of the ecosystem makes for a set of problems which economists have only started to address. Progress in renewable resource economics will come through closer collaboration with ecologists to give more realistic population models; the development of approaches for multi‐species ecosystems; and the use of modelling techniques and policies which can adapt as more information becomes available on the status of a resource. In the future renewable resource economics will continue to contribute to the sustainability debate by providing a clearer analysis of the trade‐off between ecosystem stability and the level of economic exploitation.

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  • Ben White, 2000. "A Review of the Economics of Biological Natural Resources," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 419-462, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jageco:v:51:y:2000:i:3:p:419-462
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1477-9552.2000.tb01240.x
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1477-9552.2000.tb01240.x
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