The Economics of Captive Breeding and Endangered Species Conservation
CIES Working Paper No. 0139
44 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2002
Date Written: October 2001
There is growing concern that the traditional "protectionist" approach to conservation is expensive and fails to deliver the desired environmental outcomes. Encouraged by economists, "supply side" policies to conserve endangered species have drawn support. By generating supplies from captive-bred animals, wildlife commodity prices are expected to fall, thereby lowering the incentive to poach species in the wild. Supply side policies, however, are based on a naive representation of the institutional framework within which the wildlife trade takes place, and neglect the potential strategic responses of economic agents. Adopting a richer model, we analyze the effect of supply side policies and conclude that under a wide range of circumstances these policies may contribute to further devastation of wild stocks. We derive conditions under which captive breeding contributes to conservation, and discuss implications for policy makers.
Keywords: poaching, preservation, storage, trade ban, laundering, smuggling, price competition, quantity competition, tiger farms, bear farms
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