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Price Premiums for Eco-friendly Commodities: Are ‘Green’ Markets the Best Way to Protect Endangered Ecosystems?

Paul Ferraro (), Toshihiro Uchida and Jon Conrad

Environmental & Resource Economics, 2005, vol. 32, issue 3, 419-438

Abstract: ‘Green’ markets represent a means through which public goods can be privately provided. A green product is an impure public good consisting of a private good (e.g., rain forest honey) bundled with a jointly produced public good (e.g., biodiversity protection). In the context of ecosystem protection, popular green commodities include eco-tourism excursions, coffee grown under forest canopies (‘shade-grown’), tagua nuts for buttons and ornaments, rainforest nuts and oils for cosmetic products, and rain forest honey. We examine the dynamic efficiency of eco-friendly price premiums in achieving ecosystem protection and rural welfare goals by contrasting the use of price premiums to the use of payments that are tied directly to ecosystem protection. We demonstrate analytically and empirically that direct payments are likely to be more efficient as a conservation policy instrument. Depending on the available funds, the direct payments may be better or worse than green price premiums in achieving rural welfare objectives. If direct payments are not feasible for social or political reasons, we demonstrate analytically and empirically that the price premium approach is likely to be more effective at achieving conservation and development objectives than the currently more popular policy of subsidizing capital acquisition in eco-friendly commercial activities. Copyright Springer 2005

Keywords: conservation; dynamic efficiency; eco-label; ecosystem; payments; subsidies; H21; Q28 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005
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