Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 12 No. 3 (Summer 1998)


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Conflicts and Choices in Biodiversity Preservation

Article Citation

Metrick, Andrew, and Martin L. Weitzman. 1998. "Conflicts and Choices in Biodiversity Preservation." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12(3): 21-34.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.3.21


The purpose of this article is to examine the preservation of biodiversity as an economic problem. Using a very simple prototype model, the authors discuss how to include diversity in the objective function and how to develop a simple cost-benefit ranking criterion for ordering priorities. Then they analyze data on endangered species preservation decisions in the United States to shed light on the conformity of theory with practice. A basic theme is that the core issue in biodiversity preservation today is the fuzziness of the objective function.

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Metrick, Andrew (Harvard U)
Weitzman, Martin L. (Harvard U)

JEL Classifications

Q28: Renewable Resources and Conservation: Government Policy
K32: Environmental, Health, and Safety Law


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