Worth of watersheds: A producer surplus approach for valuing drought mitigation in Eastern Indonesia

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2001-02-01

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Abstract

This study combines hydrological modeling with applied micro-econometric techniques to value a complex ecosystem service: drought mitigation provided by tropical forested watersheds to agrarian communities. Spatial variation in current base-flow allows estimation of drought mitigation values as the marginal profit accruing to agricultural households. The paper shows that this uncommon focus on producer (not consumer) surplus measures is appropriate for valuation as long as markets for commodities related to the environmental services are complete. For the typical household, the estimated marginal profit is positive, validating the central hypothesis that baseflow makes positive contributions to agricultural profits. There is some evidence, however, that increased watershed protection will increase profits through greater baseflow only in watersheds with a unique mix of physio-graphic and climatic features. The paper evaluates and provides some support for the hypothesis, put forward by hydrological science and the Indonesian Government, that protected watersheds can supply latent and unrecognized ecosystem services to local people.

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10.1017/S1355770X01000079

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Pattanayak, SK, and RA Kramer (2001). Worth of watersheds: A producer surplus approach for valuing drought mitigation in Eastern Indonesia. Environment and Development Economics, 6(1). pp. 123–146. 10.1017/S1355770X01000079 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/6747.

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Pattanayak

Subhrendu K. Pattanayak

Oak Foundation Distinguished Professor of Environmental and Energy Policy

Subhrendu K. Pattanayak is the Oak Professor of Environmental and Energy Policy at Duke University. He studies the causes and consequences of human behaviors related to the natural environment to help design and evaluate policy interventions in low-income tropical countries. His research is in three domains at the intersection of environment, development, health and energy: forest ecosystem services, environmental health (diarrhea, malaria, respiratory infections) and household energy transitions. He has focused on design of institutions and policies that are motivated by enormous inequities and a range of efficiency concerns (externalities, public goods and imperfect information and competition).

Dr. Pattanayak approaches these problems through systematic reviews of the literature (meta-analyses) and statistical modeling with high-resolution objective data collected in the field. He then uses those data to test hypotheses salient to policy manipulation, developed both from economic frameworks, stakeholder discussions and direct observations in the field. He employs empirical methods that exploit quasi-experimental variation (or experiments where feasible and appropriate), captured through household, community and institutional surveys. He typically matches these survey data with meso-scale secondary statistics and estimates econometric models to generate policy parameters. Dr. Pattanayak has collaborated closely with multi-lateral agencies, NGOs, governments, and local academics in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the U.S.

Kramer

Randall Kramer

Juli Plant Grainger Professor Emeritus of Global Environmental Health

Before coming to Duke in 1988, he was on the faculty at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He has held visiting positions at IUCN--The World Conservation Union, the Economic Growth Center at Yale University, and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank, World Health Organization and other international organizations. He was named Duke University's Scholar Teacher of the Year in 2004.

Kramer's research is focused on the economics of ecosystem services and on global environmental health. He is currently conducting a study on the effects of human land use decisions on biodiversity, infectious disease transmission and human health in rural Madagascar. Recent research projects have used decision analysis and implementation science to evaluate the health, social and environmental impacts of alternative malaria control strategies in East Africa. He has also conducted research on health systems strengthening, economic valuation of lives saved from air pollution reduction. and the role of ecosystems services in protecting human health.


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