The Crowding Out of Complex Social Goods
Joseph Thomas and
Ecological Economics, 2018, vol. 144, issue C, 65-72
The valuation of ecosystem services to inform natural resource management and development has gained acceptance in many arenas. Yet, contemporary economic valuation is constrained to the appraisal of simple goods that generate benefits that accrue to individuals, neglecting complex goods that generate benefits that accrue to society more broadly. Methodological barriers to the valuation of complex social goods have led to their frequent omission from natural resource management deliberations. The prevailing valuation paradigm that focuses on simple individual goods may erode conservation efforts by crowding out the institutions and behaviours that support socially constructed ecosystem service values. Erosion of these values ultimately harms the environment and society as a whole. The institutionalisation of appropriate methods for estimating the value of complex social goods alongside existing methods for valuing simple individual goods within international conservation, development and policy-making discourses, is therefore an important evolution for sustainable natural resource management.
Keywords: Non-market valuation; Cost benefit analysis; Individual welfare; Social welfare (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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