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The Noah's Ark Problem

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  • Martin L. Weitzman

Abstract

This paper is about the economic theory of biodiversity preservation. A cost-effectiveness methodology is constructed, which results in a ranking criterion sufficiently operational to be useful in suggesting what to look at when determining actual conservation priorities. The formula is firmly rooted in a mathematically rigorous optimization framework, so that its theoretical underpinnings are clear. The underlying model, called the 'Noah's Ark Problem,' is intended to be a kind of canonical form that hones down to its analytical essence the problem of best preserving diversity under a limited budget constraint.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin L. Weitzman, 1998. "The Noah's Ark Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1279-1298, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:66:y:1998:i:6:p:1279-1298
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Andrew Metrick & Martin L. Weitzman, 1996. "Patterns of Behavior in Endangered Species Preservation," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(1), pages 1-16.
    3. Steven Polasky & Andrew R. Solow, 1993. "Option Value, Gallot's Inequality, And The Measurement Of Biological Diversity," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 241, Boston College Department of Economics.
    4. Brown, Gardner Jr. & Goldstein, Jon H., 1984. "A model for valuing endangered species," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 303-309, December.
    5. Stephen Polasky & Andrew Solow & James Broadus, 1993. "Searching for uncertain benefits and the conservation of biological diversity," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(2), pages 171-181, April.
    6. Martin L. Weitzman, 1992. "On Diversity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 363-405.
    7. Weitzman, M.L., 1992. "Diversity Functions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1610, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    8. Martin L. Weitzman, 1993. "What to Preserve? An Application of Diversity Theory to Crane Conservation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(1), pages 157-183.
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