Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsinformatik und Wirtschaftsrecht
Thomas Eichner und Rüdiger Pethig
Efficient nonanthropocentric nature protectionThis paper analyzes nature protection by a social planner under different 'utilitarian' social welfare functions. For that purpose we construct an integrated model of the economy and the ecosystem with explicit consideration of nonhuman species and with competition between human and nonhuman species for land and prey biomass. We characterize and compare the efficient allocations when social welfare is anthropocentric (only consumers have positive welfare weights), when social welfare is biocentric (only nonhuman species have positive welfare weights) and when social welfare is nonanthropocentric (all species have positive welfare weights). Not surprisingly, biocentric social welfare calls for suspending all economic activities. It is more important, however, that both anthropocentrism and nonanthropocentrism make the case for nature protection through different channels, though. Our analysis suggests that one may dispense with the concept of nonanthropocentric social welfare provided that in the anthropocentric framework the consumers' intrinsic valuation of nature is properly accounted for.