26-Feb-2016 Rodney Beard "Biodiversity measures in economics: an overview"

Issued: Tue, 16 Feb 2016 16:46:00 GMT

Friday, 26th February 12 pm
Graham Kerr Building, Library

Rodney Beard will be speaking on "Biodiversity measures in economics: an overview" on Friday 26th of February at 12 pm in the GK library

Beginning at the latest with the Noah’s Ark problem  (Weitzman, 1998) economists have been developing an economic theory of biodiversity preservation based on diversity measures drawn initially from biology but interpreted and extended with a particular socio-economic twist. The original formulation of the Noah’s Ark problem involves Noah maximizing the expected survival probability of species plus the utility of the species subject to a cost constraint for species protection.  This paper has given rise to a number of literatures: firstly an applied literature in environmental and resource economics on biodiversity measurement and secondly, a theoretical literature in social choice theory (an interdisciplinary theory of collective decision making combining economics, mathematics, computer science, political science and philosophy) concentrating on the study of the theoretical properties of diversity and in particular biodiversity measures. In this talk I will concentrate on the latter literature.  Measures studies will be familiar to biologists working on diversity, however some of the results contained within this literature are novel and biologists are likely to be unfamiliar with them. This literature covers diversity measures in general, ordinal diversity measures, measures of phylogenetic diversity, etc. Where appropriate I will point out links to game theory and to ongoing research within the Institute and to some new R packages that might be useful for those interested in taking this branch of the diversity literature further.