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Natural vs. financial insurance in the management of public-good ecosystems

  • Martin F. Quaas


    (Department of Ecological Modelling, UFZ-Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle)

  • Stefan Baumgärtner


    (Centre for Sustainability, University of Lüneburg)

In the face of uncertainty, ecosystems can provide natural insurance to risk averse users of ecosystem services. We employ a conceptual ecological-economic model to analyze the allocation of (endogenous) risk and ecosystem quality by risk averse ecosystem managers who have access to financial insurances, and study the implications for individually and socially optimal ecosystem management, and policy design. We show that while an improved access to financial insurance leads to lower ecosystem quality, the effect on the free-rider problem and on welfare is determined by ecosystem properties. We derive conditions on ecosystem functioning under which, if financial insurance becomes more accessible, (i) the extent of optimal regulation increases or decreases; and (ii) welfare, in the absence of environmental regulation, increases or decreases.

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Paper provided by University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 34.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 26 Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lue:wpaper:34
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  1. Mario Miranda & Dmitry V. Vedenov, 2001. "Innovations in Agricultural and Natural Disaster Insurance," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(3), pages 650-655.
  2. Ehrlich, Isaac & Becker, Gary S, 1972. "Market Insurance, Self-Insurance, and Self-Protection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(4), pages 623-48, July-Aug..
  3. Baumgärtner, Stefan & Quaas, Martin, 2005. "The private and public insurance value of conservative biodiversity management," UFZ Discussion Papers 27/2005, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
  4. Rauscher, Michael & Barbier, Edward B., 2007. "Biodiversity and geography," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 79, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
  5. Yann Bramoullé & Nicolas Treich, 2009. "Can Uncertainty Alleviate the Commons Problem?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(5), pages 1042-1067, 09.
  6. Skees, Jerry & Varangis, Panos & Larson, Donald & Siegel, Paul, 2002. "Can financial markets be tapped to help poor people cope with weather risks ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2812, The World Bank.
  7. JunJie Wu, 1999. "Crop Insurance, Acreage Decisions, and Nonpoint-Source Pollution," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(2), pages 305-320.
  8. Shogren, Jason F. & Crocker, Thomas D., 1999. "Risk and Its Consequences," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 44-51, January.
  9. Sandler, Todd & Sternbenz, Frederic P., 1990. "Harvest uncertainty and the tragedy of the commons," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 155-167, March.
  10. Olivier Mahul, 2001. "Optimal Insurance Against Climatic Experience," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(3), pages 593-604.
  11. Eppink, Florian V. & Withagen, Cees A., 2009. "Spatial patterns of biodiversity conservation in a multiregional general equilibrium model," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 75-88, May.
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