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The Control of Invasive Species on Private Property with Neighbor-to-Neighbor Spillovers

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  • Eli Fenichel

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  • Timothy Richards
  • David Shanafelt

Abstract

Invasive pests cross property boundaries. Property managers may have private incentives to control invasive species despite not having sufficient incentive to fully internalize the external costs of their role in spreading the invasion. Each property manager has a right to future use of his own property, but his property may abut others’ properties enabling spread of an invasive species. The incentives for a foresighted property manager to control invasive species have received little attention. We consider the efforts of a foresighted property manager who has rights to future use of a property and has the ability to engage in repeated, discrete control activities. We find that higher rates of dispersal, associated with proximity to neighboring properties, reduce the private incentives for control. Controlling species at one location provides incentives to control at a neighboring location. Control at neighboring locations are strategic complements and coupled with spatial heterogeneity lead to a weaker-link public good problem, in which each property owner is unable to fully appropriate the benefits of his own control activity. Future-use rights and private costs suggest that there is scope for a series of Coase-like exchanges to internalize much of the costs associated with species invasion. Pigouvian taxes on invasive species potentially have qualitatively perverse behavioral effects. A tax with a strong income effect (e.g., failure of effective revenue recycling) can reduce the value of property assets and diminish the incentive to manage insects on one’s own property. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Eli Fenichel & Timothy Richards & David Shanafelt, 2014. "The Control of Invasive Species on Private Property with Neighbor-to-Neighbor Spillovers," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 59(2), pages 231-255, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:59:y:2014:i:2:p:231-255
    DOI: 10.1007/s10640-013-9726-z
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