The economics of conservation and finance: A review of the literature

Amy W. Ando, Payal Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article summarizes key insights into conservation that come from the intersections of economics and finance: public finance, conservation finance, and financial theory applied to problems of conservation. We discuss some of what has been learned from the study of conservation and finance that helps us to understand when, where, and even whether conservation activities should occur; portfolio theory has been harnessed to help guide conservation planning under uncertainty, and real options theory helps us understand whether to commit to conservation or to wait. We distill some of the extant research on how resources can be gathered to support conservation through local referenda, payment for environmental service programs, private donations, user fees, and value capture through property taxes. The article concludes with suggestions for promising future directions in this area of work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-357
Number of pages37
JournalInternational Review of Environmental and Resource Economics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2016


  • Conservation
  • Ecosystem services
  • Finance
  • Funding
  • Portfolios
  • Real options
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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