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The economic valuation of biodiversity as an abstract good

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  • Meinard, Yves
  • Grill, Philippe

Abstract

The notion of an economic valuation of biodiversity raises major philosophical and practical challenges, especially due to the fact that biodiversity is an abstract good. Insights from political philosophy and philosophy of language can help to clarify the reliability and scope of the current economic methods that can be used for the purpose of valuing it. The analogy with another abstract good, justice, indeed shows that thinking about abstract goods is a very specific exercise. If they do not take account of this specificity, applications of hedonic and contingent valuation methods can hardly claim to be relevant to value biodiversity. Rawls' theory of justice provides for the conceptual tools to overcome this problem. A reinterpretation, based on the theory of counterfactuals, allows generalizing this account of justice to outline a theory of thinking about abstract goods. This new framework emphasizes the importance of the institutional context in determining the reliability of thinking about abstract goods. It points toward substantial reforms of the methodology of economic valuation. Specifically, it suggests reinterpreting valuation as a dynamic expressive process, where initial steps aim at reinforcing the reliability of later steps through an institutional transformation and stabilization of preferences for abstract goods.

Suggested Citation

  • Meinard, Yves & Grill, Philippe, 2011. "The economic valuation of biodiversity as an abstract good," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(10), pages 1707-1714, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:10:p:1707-1714
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bartkowski, Bartosz, 2016. "Are diverse ecosystems more valuable? A conceptual framework of the economic value of biodiversity," 90th Annual Conference, April 4-6, 2016, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 236293, Agricultural Economics Society.
    2. Bartkowski, Bartosz, 2016. "Are diverse ecosystems more valuable? A conceptual framework for economic valuation of biodiversity," UFZ Discussion Papers 9/2016, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    3. Bartkowski, Bartosz & Lienhoop, Nele & Hansjürgens, Bernd, 2015. "Capturing the complexity of biodiversity: A critical review of economic valuation studies of biological diversity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 1-14.
    4. Wolfson, Dirk J., 2014. "Who gets what in environmental policy?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 8-14.
    5. Ruggiero Sardaro & Vincenzo Fucilli & Claudio Acciani & Francesco Bozzo & Alessandro Petrontino & Stefania Girone, 2016. "Agro-Biodiversity: An Economic Evaluation Of Benefits Provided To Regional Community By The Apulian Olive Landraces," RIEDS - Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica - Italian Review of Economics, Demography and Statistics, SIEDS Societa' Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, vol. 70(3), pages 173-184, July-Sept.
    6. Jobstvogt, Niels & Hanley, Nick & Hynes, Stephen & Kenter, Jasper & Witte, Ursula, 2014. "Twenty thousand sterling under the sea: Estimating the value of protecting deep-sea biodiversity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 10-19.
    7. Farnsworth, K.D. & Adenuga, A.H. & de Groot, R.S., 2015. "The complexity of biodiversity: A biological perspective on economic valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 350-354.
    8. Jobstvogt, Niels & Hanley, Nick & Hynes, Stephen & Kenter, Jasper & Witte, Ursula, 2013. "Investigating public preferences for the protection of deep-sea ecosystems: A Choice Experiment Approach," Working Papers 160057, Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit, National University of Ireland, Galway.
    9. repec:eee:ecolec:v:143:y:2018:i:c:p:97-104 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Meinard, Yves & Remy, Alice & Schmid, Bernhard, 2017. "Measuring Impartial Preference for Biodiversity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 45-54.
    11. Sieds, 2016. "Complete Volume LXX n. 3 2016," RIEDS - Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica - Italian Review of Economics, Demography and Statistics, SIEDS Societa' Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, vol. 70(3), pages 1-187, July-Sept.
    12. Sieds, 2015. "Complete Volume LXIX n. 3 2015," RIEDS - Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica - Italian Review of Economics, Demography and Statistics, SIEDS Societa' Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, vol. 69(3), pages 1-192, July-Sept.

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