Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1004780
 
 

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What Drives Long-Term Biodiversity Change? New Insights from Combining Economics, Paleo-Ecology, and Environmental History


Nick Hanley


University of Glasgow - Department of Economics

Konstantinos Angelopoulos


Athens University of Economics and Business - Department of International and European Economic Studies

Dugald Tinch


University of Stirling - Economics Department

Althea Davies


University of Stirling - AHRC Centre for Environmental History

Fiona Watson


University of Dundee - History Department

Edward B. Barbier


University of Wyoming - College of Business - Department of Economics and Finance

April 1, 2007

RFF Discussion Paper No. 07-23

Abstract:     
This paper presents an econometric analysis of the relationship between economic and environmental factors and biodiversity change in Scotland over the period 1600-2000. Our main hypothesis is that economic development, as captured by changes in prices, technological improvements and management intensity, is a significant determinant of long-run biodiversity change. The measure of biodiversity used here is an estimate of plant species diversity, constructed by the authors using paleo-ecological analysis of pollen remains. We assemble a new data set of historical land use and price data over 11 sites during this 400 year period; this data set also includes information on long-run climate change and extreme weather events, as well as changes in agricultural technology, land tenure and land ownership. A panel model is then estimated, which controls for both supply and demand shifts over time. Our main result is that agricultural prices, which determine livestock numbers, do indeed impact on biodiversity, with higher prices leading to lower diversity scores, due to their influence on production. No significant direct effects of either changes in technology or climate are detected.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 28

Keywords: agriculture, biodiversity, climate change, paleo-ecology, panel models, instrumental variables

JEL Classification: C33, N53, O13, Q57

working papers series





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Date posted: August 7, 2007 ; Last revised: October 15, 2008

Suggested Citation

Hanley, Nick and Angelopoulos, Konstantinos and Tinch, Dugald and Davies, Althea and Watson, Fiona and Barbier, Edward B., What Drives Long-Term Biodiversity Change? New Insights from Combining Economics, Paleo-Ecology, and Environmental History (April 1, 2007). RFF Discussion Paper No. 07-23. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1004780 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1004780

Contact Information

Nick Hanley (Contact Author)
University of Glasgow - Department of Economics ( email )
Adam Smith Building
Glasgow, Scotland G12 8RT
United Kingdom
0141 330 4618 (Phone)
0141 330 4940 (Fax)
Konstantinos Angelopoulos
Athens University of Economics and Business - Department of International and European Economic Studies ( email )
GR-10434 Athens
Greece
Dugald Tinch
University of Stirling - Economics Department ( email )
Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA
United Kingdom
Althea Davies
University of Stirling - AHRC Centre for Environmental History ( email )
Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA
United Kingdom
Fiona Watson
University of Dundee - History Department ( email )
Dundee DD1 4HN
United Kingdom
Edward B. Barbier
University of Wyoming - College of Business - Department of Economics and Finance ( email )
Dept. 3985
COB, 1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071
United States
307-766-2358 (Phone)
307-766-5090 (Fax)
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References:  24

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