A Method for Valuing Global Ecosystem Services
University of Wyoming
John A. List
University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Escuela de Econonía, Universidad de Guanajuato
Ecological Economics, Vol. 27, No. 2, 1998
The goal of this paper is to provide an investigation of several approaches to valuing ecosystem services and to contribute additional techniques which may be used in evaluating `green' GDP accounts. Our estimates focus on the
ecosystem as a productive economic input, not a stock which is depreciated or depleted over time; as such, it differs with other concepts more frequently employed in green GDP accounting. Most of our results are derived from the analytical fiction that a single owner of the biosphere establishes a market for all ecological resources. This monopolist then appropriates all rents from the human population. The maximum amount the monopolist charges is first assumed to be world gross product less the global human subsistence level. In addition, we examine the excess rents available in factor markets using the assumption of weak complementarity between factor inputs and ecosystem services. We also provide more conservative estimates of the value of ecosystem services by investigating the sustainable price the monopolist could charge the global population and by exploring the effects of compensating wage differentials and a non-monopolist owner of the ecosystem.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 10
Keywords: Ecosystem services, Monopolist, Excess rents, Maximum surplus, Weak complementarity
JEL Classification: Q00, D5Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 19, 2007
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