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The value of nonindigenous species risk assessment in international trade

  • Springborn, Michael
  • Romagosa, Christina M.
  • Keller, Reuben P.
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    Managing the introduction of nonindigenous species is becoming a major goal of policy-makers at regional, national and international scales. Here we investigate, at the national level, the ideal design and expected net benefits of a risk assessment program for evaluating the desirability of nonindigenous species imports. We show how to enhance the statistical rigor of such a system by correcting a common non-random sampling problem encountered in the data. This correction enables model output to be interpreted in an economically relevant way and facilitates a theoretically rigorous characterization of the balance between trade and nonindigenous species establishment risk. Using reptiles and amphibians imported to the U.S. as a case study, we characterize economic outcomes over a range of cases and demonstrate substantial expected returns to such a screening program, relative to the current effectively open-door policy. Our results are informative for the current debate in the U.S. about whether to require federal agencies to apply risk assessment before allowing a species for import. The framework presented decomposes a complex argument about risk management into component economic and statistical parts, allowing for debate and improved understanding over each element to inform the overall program in a transparent fashion.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 70 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 11 (September)
    Pages: 2145-2153

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:11:p:2145-2153
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    1. Sophia Rabe-Hesketh & Anders Skrondal, 2012. "Multilevel and Longitudinal Modeling Using Stata, 3rd Edition," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, edition 3, number mimus2, November.
    2. Imbens, G. & Lancaster, T., 1991. "Efficient Estimation and Stratified Sampling," Papers 9145, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
    3. Finnoff, David & Shogren, Jason F. & Leung, Brian & Lodge, David, 2007. "Take a risk: Preferring prevention over control of biological invaders," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 216-222, April.
    4. Blonigen, Bruce A. & Soderbery, Anson, 2010. "Measuring the benefits of foreign product variety with an accurate variety set," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 168-180, November.
    5. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
    6. Manski, Charles F & Lerman, Steven R, 1977. "The Estimation of Choice Probabilities from Choice Based Samples," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(8), pages 1977-88, November.
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