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Integrating Economics into Research on Natural Capital and Human Health

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  • Brendan Fisher
  • Luz A. de Wit
  • Taylor H. Ricketts

Abstract

In the past two decades, there has been a rapid expansion in research that examines the linkages between natural capital and human health. These nature–human health connections range from mangroves mitigating mortality from coastal storms to a walk in nature temporarily lowering blood pressure. While the evidence base for research on natural capital and human health is growing and study designs are becoming more advanced, we find that very few studies use an economic approach. A review of the literature reveals that few studies evaluate the costs of delivering nature’s benefits to human health, even fewer studies use benefit–cost analysis or a cost-effectiveness approach to compare alternative policy interventions, and no study evaluates the net benefits of natural capital for human health. In this article, we discuss why an economic approach is critical to advancing research on the connections between nature and human health and present a conceptual model for conducting more practice- and policy-relevant research.

Suggested Citation

  • Brendan Fisher & Luz A. de Wit & Taylor H. Ricketts, 2021. "Integrating Economics into Research on Natural Capital and Human Health," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 95-114.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:renvpo:doi:10.1086/713024
    DOI: 10.1086/713024
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