IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ecm/emetrp/v70y2002i3p1155-1198.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

A Theory of Diversity

Author

Listed:
  • Klaus Nehring

    () (Dept. of Economics, University of California, U.S.A.)

  • Clemens Puppe

    () (Dept. of Economics, University of Bonn, Germany)

Abstract

How can diversity be measured? What does it mean to value biodiversity? Can we assist Noah in constructing his preferences? To address these questions, we propose a multi-attribute approach under which the diversity of a set of species is the sum of the values of all attributes possessed by some species in the set. We develop the basic intuitions and requirements for a theory of diversity and show that the multi-attribute approach satisfies them in a flexible yet tractable manner. A natural starting point is to think of the diversity of a set as an aggregate of the pairwise dissimilarities between its elements. The multi-attribute framework allows one to make this program formally precise. It is shown that the program can be realized if and only if the family of relevant attributes is well-ordered ("acyclic"). Moreover, there is a unique functional form aggregating dissimilarity into diversity, the length of a minimum spanning tree. Examples are taxonomic hierarchies and lines representing uni-dimensional qualities. In multi-dimensional settings, pairwise dissimilarity information among elements is insufficient to determine their diversity. By consequence, the qualitative and quantitative behavior of diversity differs fundamentally. Copyright The Econometric Society 2002.

Suggested Citation

  • Klaus Nehring & Clemens Puppe, 2002. "A Theory of Diversity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 1155-1198, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:70:y:2002:i:3:p:1155-1198
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/ecta/asp/abstract.asp?iid=3&aid=321&vid=70
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:70:y:2002:i:3:p:1155-1198. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/essssea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.