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Paying for the conservation of endangered ecosystems: a comparison of direct and indirect approaches*

  • R. David Simpson (a1) and Roger A. Sedjo (a1)
Abstract
ABSTRACT

A number of international conservation donors support efforts to encourage conservation indirectly by subsidizing commercial activities. Such plans beg two questions. First, if commercial ventures are expected to be profitable, why is external financing necessary for their initiation? Second, if commercial ventures are not expected to be profitable, could not greater incentives for conservation be generated by making direct payments? We examine these questions in detail. While we find that the practical impediments to instituting a direct payment programme may be substantial, the practical impediments to instituting any effective conservation programme may be substantial. On balance, there is a strong case to be made for greater experimentation with direct payment schemes than heretofore.

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The authors thank participants at the Conference on Environment and Development held in Stockholm, 9–11 September 1995; Edward Barbier; and two anonymous referees for very helpful comments on an earlier version of this work. We are also grateful to Kay Murphy for careful proofreading. Responsibility for errors and opinions rests solely with the authors, however.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

M.J. Balick and R. Mendelsohn , (1992), ‘Assessing the economic value of traditional medicines from tropical rain forests’, Conservation Biology 6: 128130.

J.A. Brander and B.J. Spencer (1985), ‘Export subsidies and international market share rivalry’, Journal of International Economics 18: 83100.

J. Eaton and G.M. Grossman (1986), ‘Optimal trade and industrial policy under oligopoly’, Quarterly Journal of Economics 101: 383406.

P.R. Krugman (1987), ‘Is free trade passé?’, Journal of Economic Perspectives 1: 131144.

R. Mendelsohn and M.A. Balick (1995), ‘The value of undiscovered pharmaceuticals in tropical forests’, Economic Botany 49: 223228.

C.M. Peters , A.H. Gentry and R.O. Mendelsohn (1989), ‘Valuation of an Amazonian rainforest’, Nature 339: 655656.

M.A. Toman (1994), ‘Economics and “sustainability”: balancing trade-offs and imperatives’, Land Economics 70: 399413.

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Environment and Development Economics
  • ISSN: 1355-770X
  • EISSN: 1469-4395
  • URL: /core/journals/environment-and-development-economics
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