Protecting Eden: Markets or Government?
The majority of species classified as Â“threatenedÂ”, Â“endangeredÂ” or Â“extinctÂ” by the IUCN are to be found in government controlled parks and legally protected areas in developing countries. Dissatisfaction with the public sectorÂ’s record in protecting endangered species has prompted calls for the use of market based instruments and other economic incentives to promote more efficient environmental outcomes. In this paper we examine whether greater reliance on market based incentives would result in improved environmental outcomes in national parks. We address this issue by extending the incomplete contracts framework to the case of a renewable resource. We identify conditions under which private ownership or control of a national park induces more (less) efficient management of protected areas. The paper concludes with a discussion of the limitations of the analysis and the implications of these results for the conservation of biodiversity.
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