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Economic Incentives for Managing Filterable Biological Pollution Risks from Trade

Carson Reeling and Richard D. Horan
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Richard D. Horan: Michigan State University

Environmental & Resource Economics, 2018, vol. 70, issue 3, 651-671

Abstract: Abstract Infectious livestock disease problems are “biological pollution” problems. Prior work on biological pollution problems generally examines the efficient allocation of prevention and control efforts, but does not identify the specific externalities underpinning the design of efficiency-enhancing policy instruments. Prior analyses also focus on problems where those being damaged do not contribute to externalities. We examine a problem where the initial biological introduction harms the importer and then others are harmed by spread from this importer. Here, the externality is the spread of infection beyond the initial importer. This externality is influenced by the importer’s private risk management choices, which provide impure public goods that reduce disease spillovers to others—making disease spread a “filterable externality.” We derive efficient policy incentives to internalize filterable disease externalities given uncertainties about introduction and spread. We find efficiency requires incentivizing an importer’s trade choices along with self-protection and abatement efforts, in contrast to prior work that targets trade alone. Perhaps surprisingly, we find these incentives increase with importers’ private risk management incentives and with their ability to directly protect others. In cases where importers can spread infection to each other, we find filterable externalities may lead to multiple Nash equilibria.

Keywords: Biological pollution; Disease; Filterable externality; Policy design; Strategic interactions; Trade (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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