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Friday, September 23, 2005

Economics & Endangered Species

Valeska has posted below on the Endangered Species Act. Consider the following which was taken from the news article Valeska comments on:
"An important part of the legislation is a provision that allows the Interior Department, the parent agency of the Fish and Wildlife Service, to provide 'conservation grants' to property owners who are deemed to be helping conserve an endangered species. The legislation also requires that property owners be paid 'fair market value' if, in the view of federal biologists, their development plans would violate the law.

The purpose of the compensation would be 'to alleviate the burden of conservation measure imposed on' landowners who forgo their plans in order to help a species' survive."
I would like to ask you to consider this statement from the perspective of economic efficiency and market failure. Specifically, noting that the statement discusses payments to individuals, which source of market failure would we want to look for to provide economic justification for such payments? And, do you think such a source of market failure exists with respect to endangered species?

I would also like to ask you to consider the statement from the perspective of liberty. How might we use the liberty framework to either support or criticize the policies suggested in the quote?

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