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On the Economic Value of Ecosystem Services

Mark Sagoff

Environmental Values, 2008, vol. 17, issue 2, 239-257

Abstract: The productive services of nature, such as the ability of fertile soil to grow crops, receive low market prices not because markets fail but because many natural resources, such as good cropland, are abundant relative to effective demand. Even when one pays nothing for a service such as that the wind provides in pollinating crops, this is its 'correct' market price if the supply is adequate and free. The paper argues that ecological services are either too 'lumpy' to price in incremental units (for example, climatic systems), priced competitively, or too cheap to meter. The paper considers counter-examples and objections.

Keywords: Ecosystems; valuation; economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D4 D6 Q2 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev17:ev1713