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On the Economic Value of Ecosystem Services

Author

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  • Mark Sagoff

Abstract

The productive services of nature, such as the ability of fertile soil to grow crops, receive low market prices not because markets fail but because many natural resources, such as good cropland, are abundant relative to effective demand. Even when one pays nothing for a service such as that the wind provides in pollinating crops, this is its 'correct' market price if the supply is adequate and free. The paper argues that ecological services are either too 'lumpy' to price in incremental units (for example, climatic systems), priced competitively, or too cheap to meter. The paper considers counter-examples and objections.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Sagoff, 2008. "On the Economic Value of Ecosystem Services," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 17(2), pages 239-257, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev17:ev1713
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Illge, Lydia & Schwarze, Reimund, 2009. "A matter of opinion--How ecological and neoclassical environmental economists and think about sustainability and economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 594-604, January.
    2. Seth D. Baum, 2012. "Value Typology in Cost-Benefit Analysis," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 21(4), pages 499-524, November.
    3. Jean-Michel Salles, 2011. "Valuing biodiversity and ecosystem services: why linking economic values with Nature?," Working Papers 11-24, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Dec 2011.
    4. Shonil A. Bhagwat, 2009. "Ecosystem Services and Sacred Natural Sites: Reconciling Material and Non-material Values in Nature Conservation," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 18(4), pages 417-427, November.
    5. Kerr, Sandy & Watts, Laura & Colton, John & Conway, Flaxen & Hull, Angela & Johnson, Kate & Jude, Simon & Kannen, Andreas & MacDougall, Shelley & McLachlan, Carly & Potts, Tavis & Vergunst, Jo, 2014. "Establishing an agenda for social studies research in marine renewable energy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 694-702.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ecosystems; valuation; economics;

    JEL classification:

    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation

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