We offer three reasons why economics matters more to species protection than many people think and what this implies for the ongoing debate over the reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Economics matters because (1) human behavior generally, and economic parameters in particular, help determine the degree of risk to a species; (2) in a world of scarce resources, the opportunity cost of species protection - the costs of reduced resources for other worthwhile causes - must be taken into account in decision making; and (3) economic incentives are critical in shaping human behavior, and consequently the recovery of species. Endangered species protection that explicitly addresses these basic principles can avoid wasting valuable resources that yield no gain in species protection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation