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The Market for Conservation and Other Hostages
RFF Academic Seminar

Presenter
Bård Harstad

Abstract
A conservation good, such as the rainforest, is a hostage: it is possessed by S who may prefer to consume it, but B receives a larger value from continued conservation. A range of prices would make trade mutually beneficial. So, why doesn’t B purchase conservation, or the forest, from S?

If this were an equilibrium, S would never consume, anticipating a higher price at the next stage. Anticipating this, B prefers to deviate and not pay. The Markov- perfect equilibria are in mixed strategies, implying that the good is consumed (or the forest is cut) at a positive rate. If conservation is more valuable, it is less likely to occur. If there are several interested buyers, cutting increases. If S sets the price and players are patient, the forest disappears with probability one.

A rental market has similar properties. By comparison, a rental market dominates a sale market if the value of conservation is low, the consumption value high, and if remote protection is costly. Thus, the theory can explain why optimal conservation does not always occur and why conservation abroad is rented, while domestic conservation is bought.

Date
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

Refreshments and pastries will be provided.

Location
7th Floor Conference Center
1616 P St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

All seminars will be in the 7th Floor Conference Room at RFF, 1616 P Street NW. Attendance is open, but involves pre-registration no later than two days prior to the event. For questions and to register to an event, please contact Charlotte Pineda at Pineda@rff.org (tel. 202-328-5021). Updates to our academic seminars schedule will be posted at www.rff.org/academicseminarseries.

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