Biological Invasion Risks and the Public Good: An Economic Perspective

Conservation Ecology, Vol. 6, No. 1, p. 1, 2002

Posted: 29 Sep 2006

See all articles by Charles Perrings

Charles Perrings

Arizona State University (ASU) - Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS)

Mark Williamson

University of York

Edward B. Barbier

Colorado State University, Fort Collins - Department of Economics

Doriana Delfino

University of York

Silvana Dalmazzone

University of Turin - Department of Economics

Jason F. Shogren

Department of Economics

Peter J. Simmons

University of York - Department of Economics and Related Studies

Andrew Watkinson

University of East Anglia (UEA) - School of Environmental Sciences

Abstract

We postulate that the causes of the problem of invasive alien species are primarily economic and as such, require economic solutions. Invasive alien species are of increasing concern for four reasons. First, introductions are increasing sharply, while mechanisms for excluding or eradicating alien species have been either withdrawn or progressively weakened. Both trends are due to the liberalization of and increase in international travel and trade, an economic phenomenon. Second, the costs of invasions are rising rapidly due partly to increasing human population density, and partly to increasing intensity of production in genetically impoverished agricultural systems. Third, biological invasions are associated with a high degree of uncertainty both because they involve novel interactions, and because invasion risks are endogenous. Actual risks depend on how people react to the possibility of invasions. Fourth, the exclusion and control of invasive species is a "weakest-link" public good. This places the well-being of society in the hands of the least effective provider. We argue that an economic solution to the problem of invasive species has two components. One is to use incentives to change human behavior so as to enhance protection against the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive behavior. The other is to develop institutions that support the weakest members of global society, converting a "weakest-link" to a "best-shot" public good.

Keywords: Invasive species

Suggested Citation

Perrings, Charles and Williamson, Mark and Barbier, Edward B. and Delfino, Doriana and Dalmazzone, Silvana and Shogren, Jason F. and Simmons, Peter J. and Watkinson, Andrew, Biological Invasion Risks and the Public Good: An Economic Perspective. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=700781

Charles Perrings (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) ( email )

Tempe, AZ
United States

Mark Williamson

University of York

Heslington
University of York
York, YO10 5DD
United Kingdom

Edward B. Barbier

Colorado State University, Fort Collins - Department of Economics ( email )

Fort Collins, CO 80523-1771
United States

Doriana Delfino

University of York

Heslington
University of York
York, YO10 5DD
United Kingdom

Silvana Dalmazzone

University of Turin - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Po, 53
Torino, 10124
Italy

Jason F. Shogren

Department of Economics ( email )

BU237
Laramie, WY 82071-3985
United States
307-766-5430 (Phone)
307-766-5090 (Fax)

Peter J. Simmons

University of York - Department of Economics and Related Studies ( email )

Heslington
York, YO1 5DD
United Kingdom

Andrew Watkinson

University of East Anglia (UEA) - School of Environmental Sciences

Norwich, Norfolk
United Kingdom

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