Banking on extinction: endangered species and speculation
Many wildlife commodities, such as tiger bones, bear bladders, ivory, and rhino horn, have been stockpiled in large quantities by speculators who expect that future price increases justify forgoing the interest income associated with current sales. When supply from private stores competes with supply from ‘wild populations’ (in nature) and when speculators are able to collude, it may be optimal to coordinate on an extinction strategy. We analyse the behaviour of a speculator who has access to a large initial store, and finds that it is optimal to deter poachers’ entry either by depressing prices (carefully timing own supply) or by depressing wild stocks. Which strategy maximizes profits critically depends on the initial wildlife stock and initial speculative stores. We apply the model to the case of black rhino conservation, and conclude it is likely that ‘banking on extinction’ is profitable if current speculators are able to collude. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we also find that extinction is favoured by such factors as low discount rates or high growth rates. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.