Edward B. Barbier

University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, United States

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Publications (187)492.43 Total impact

  • Edward B Barbier
    Science 09/2014; 345(6202):1250-1. · 31.48 Impact Factor
  • Edward B. Barbier
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    ABSTRACT: Recent concern over the loss of estuarine and coastal ecosystems (ECEs) often focuses on an important service provided by these ecosystems, their role in protecting coastal communities from storms that damage property and cause deaths and injury. Past valuations of this benefit have relied on the second-best replacement cost method, estimating the protective value of ECEs with the cost of building human-made storm barriers. A promising alternative methodological approach to incorporate these factors is using the expected damage function (EDF) method, which requires modeling the production of this protection service of ECEs and estimating its value in terms of reducing the expected damages or deaths avoided by coastal communities. This paper illustrates the EDF approach to value the storm protection service of ECEs, using the example of mangroves in Thailand to compare and contrast the EDF with the replacement cost approach to estimate the protective value of ECEs. In addition, the example of marshes in the US Gulf Coast is employed to show how the EDF approach can be combined with hydrodynamic analysis of simulated hurricane storm surges to determine the economic value of expected property damages reduced through the presence of marsh wetlands and their vegetation along a storm surge path.
    Ecosystem Services. 09/2014;
  • Edward B. Barbier
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    ABSTRACT: Background/Question/Methods Although considerable progress has been made in quantifying and valuing some of the key ecosystem goods and services provided by coastal habitats, fundamental challenges remain. The biggest challenge is inadequate knowledge to link changes in ecosystem structure and function to the production of valuable goods and services. Another problem is that very few ecosystem services are marketed. This presentation discusses recent advances in overcoming these challenges as an aid to coastal policy and management. To illustrate key valuation issues, the presentation introduces two case studies from the US Gulf Coast state of Louisiana: quantifying ecosystem services and the 2012 Master Plan for coastal Louisiana and valuing storm protection by marsh in southeast Louisiana; and one case study from Thailand: valuing storm protection by mangroves. Results/Conclusions The 2012 Louisiana Master Plan for the Louisiana coast illustrates that to assist coastal management and policy, quantitative assessment need not always require valuation of ecosystem benefits. The ecosystem services analysis conducted by the 2012 Master Plan involved only indirect quantification of these services through proxy characteristics, such as habitat suitability indices and other measures. By comparing and contrasting the Louisiana and Thailand storm protection valuation studies, it is possible to understand better how methods for assessing this vital coastal service have improved and become more reliable for coastal management. The presentation concludes with some final remarks on the state of coastal wetland valuation for assisting policy decisions.
    99th ESA Annual Convention 2014; 08/2014
  • Edward B. Barbier, Anita M. Chaudhry
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    ABSTRACT: We adapt the neoclassical growth model to examine the problem of water provision in an urban economy. Our model delivers testable hypotheses regarding the effect of a change in public provision of water, population growth, and total water availability on per capita economic growth. Increases in population growth and public water supply enhance per capita economic growth, but an increase in water availability lowers per capita economic growth along the trajectory towards the steady state. The results of the economic model are tested empirically by using a panel data set of urban counties in the U.S. We find that ceteris paribus higher water use and population growth are associated with greater per capita economic growth in urban areas, but urban areas with higher total water availability are not experiencing lower per capita economic growth, as the model predicts.
    Water Resources and Economics. 07/2014;
  • Edward B Barbier
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    ABSTRACT: Climate change mitigation policies include a wide range of actions, including efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel combustion, energy efficiency and end-use innovations, and reducing carbon emissions through avoided deforestation. Such policies can affect poverty in developing countries either directly or indirectly. Direct impacts on poverty include payments for avoided deforestation that affect the livelihoods of the poor, reduced GHG emissions that also produce co-benefits of improved air quality and health, and clean energy and energy efficiency effects on energy poverty. Indirect impacts on the poor in developing countries occur through the changes in trade, economic growth, and other economy-wide effects. To date, there is a lack of systematic or comprehensive analyses of these direct and indirect impacts of mitigation policies on the poor. Although such policies may benefit the poor, some actions may worsen poverty and hinder its alleviation. This suggests that a more comprehensive approach should be employed in analyzing how mitigation policies affect the poor in developing countries, and in particular, in assessing how policy design and implementation can influence the potential trade-offs between the positive and negative impacts on poverty alleviation.For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.
    Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change. 03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: An era of expanding deep-ocean industrialization is before us, with policy makers establishing governance frameworks for sustainable management of deep-sea resources while scientists learn more about the ecological structure and functioning of the largest biome on the planet. Missing from discussion of the stewardship of the deep ocean is ecological restoration. If existing activities in the deep sea continue or are expanded and new deep-ocean industries are developed, there is need to consider what is required to minimize or repair resulting damages to the deep-sea environment. In addition, thought should be given as to how any past damage can be rectified. This paper develops the discourse on deep-sea restoration and offers guidance on planning and implementing ecological restoration projects for deep-sea ecosystems that are already, or are at threat of becoming, degraded, damaged or destroyed. Two deep-sea restoration case studies or scenarios are described (deep-sea stony corals on the Darwin Mounds off the west coast of Scotland, deep-sea hydrothermal vents in Manus Basin, Papua New Guinea) and are contrasted with on-going saltmarsh restoration in San Francisco Bay. For these case studies, a set of socio-economic, ecological, and technological decision parameters that might favor (or not) their restoration are examined. Costs for hypothetical restoration scenarios in the deep sea are estimated and first indications suggest they may be two to three orders of magnitude greater per hectare than costs for restoration efforts in shallow-water marine systems.
    Marine Policy 02/2014; 44:98–106. · 1.87 Impact Factor
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    Nature 01/2014; 505(7484):475-7. · 42.35 Impact Factor
  • Chris J. Kennedy, Edward B. Barbier
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    ABSTRACT: Environmental variability can substantially influence renewable resource growth, and as the ability to forecast environmental conditions improves, opportunities for adaptive management emerge. Using a stochastic stock-recruitment model, Costello, et al. () show the optimal management response to a prediction of favourable growth conditions is to reduce current harvests. We find this result may be reversed when environmental variability and stock are substitutes in growth, a possibility that has been ignored by resource economists. As an example, we analyze the South Carolina white shrimp fishery, finding the optimal response to a prediction of favourable overwinter conditions is to increase fall harvests. Gestion d'une ressource renouvelable quand il y prévision environnementale : importance des spécifications structurelles. La variabilité de l'environnement peut affecter de manière significative la croissance d'une ressource renouvelable, et, à proportion que l'habileté à prévoir les conditions environnementales, des occasions de gestion qui s'y adaptent émergent. Utilisant un modèle stochastique du type stock-recrutement, Costello et al. () montrent que la gestion optimale face à une prédiction de conditions de croissance favourables serait de réduire les récoltes présentes. On montre que ce résultat peut être inversé quand la variabilité de l'environnement et les stocks sont des substituts dans la croissance – une possibilité que les économistes spécialisés en ressources ont ignoré. On examine, en tant qu'exemple, les pêches de crevettes blanches de la Caroline du Sud, et on montre que la réponse optimale à une prévision de conditions favourables au cours de l'hiver qui vient est d'accroître les récoltes d'automne.
    Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue Canadienne d`Economique 08/2013; 46(3). · 0.61 Impact Factor
  • Edward B. Barbier
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    ABSTRACT: Empirical evidence indicates that in many developing regions, the extreme poor in more marginal land areas form a "residual" pool of rural labor. Structural transformation in such developing economies depends crucially on labor and land use decisions of these most-vulnerable populations located on abundant but marginal agricultural land. Although the modern sector may be the source of dynamic growth through learning-by-doing and knowledge spillovers, patterns of labor, land and other natural resources use in the rural economy matter in the overall dynamics of structural change. The concentration of the rural poor on marginal lands is essentially a barometer of economy-wide development. As long as there are abundant marginal lands for cultivation, they serve to absorb rural migrants, increased population, and displaced unskilled labor from elsewhere in the economy. Moreover, the economy is vulnerable to the "Dutch disease" effects of a booming primary products sector. As a consequence, productivity increases and expansion in the commercial primary production sector will cause manufacturing employment and output to contract, until complete specialization occurs. Avoiding such an outcome and combating the inherent dualism of the economy requires both targeted polices for the modern sector and traditional agriculture on marginal lands.
  • Edward B. Barbier
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    ABSTRACT: This paper develops a methodology for including ecosystem services in a wealth accounting framework. Accounting for ecosystems and their services leads to adjusting net domestic product (NDP) for the direct benefits provided by the current stock of ecosystems but not for their indirect contributions in terms of protecting or supporting economic activity, property and human lives. When ecosystems are irreversibly converted for economic development, NDP must be further modified to reflect any capital revaluation that occurs with the current conversion of ecological capital to other land uses. The risk of collapse also requires adjustments to NDP, as any capital revaluation associated with ecosystem conversion must be adjusted for this risk, and the discounted minimum value of ecosystems associated with collapse must be subtracted from NDP. These various contributions of ecological capital to wealth accounts are illustrated with the example of mangroves in Thailand over the period 1970–2009.
    Environment and Development Economics 04/2013; 18(02). · 0.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 have spurred global interest in the role of coastal wetlands and vegetation in reducing storm surge and flood damages. Evidence that coastal wetlands reduce storm surge and attenuate waves is often cited in support of restoring Gulf Coast wetlands to protect coastal communities and property from hurricane damage. Yet interdisciplinary studies combining hydrodynamic and economic analysis to explore this relationship for temperate marshes in the Gulf are lacking. By combining hydrodynamic analysis of simulated hurricane storm surges and economic valuation of expected property damages, we show that the presence of coastal marshes and their vegetation has a demonstrable effect on reducing storm surge levels, thus generating significant values in terms of protecting property in southeast Louisiana. Simulations for four storms along a sea to land transect show that surge levels decline with wetland continuity and vegetation roughness. Regressions confirm that wetland continuity and vegetation along the transect are effective in reducing storm surge levels. A 0.1 increase in wetland continuity per meter reduces property damages for the average affected area analyzed in southeast Louisiana, which includes New Orleans, by $99-$133, and a 0.001 increase in vegetation roughness decreases damages by $24-$43. These reduced damages are equivalent to saving 3 to 5 and 1 to 2 properties per storm for the average area, respectively.
    PLoS ONE 03/2013; 8(3):e58715. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    Edward B Barbier, Anita M. Chaudhry
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    ABSTRACT: Although water markets have been proposed as a possible solution to growing conflicts over water, between agriculture and other uses, farmers with prior appropriation rights are often unwilling to "trade" water rights even if they have excess available water to sell. The purpose of the following paper is to explain the economic behavior that underlies this reluctance of farmers to engage in water markets. We model the relationship between water and growth in the agricultural economy through the perspective of a representative agricultural household that engages in irrigated farming as its principal economic activity. Given prior appropriation, water is treated as a private good, but the household faces increasing costs in appropriating and using more water, r, from its fixed water right, w. Under conditions of excess available water, the agricultural household can attain a long-run saddle point steady state, and if capital and water are not highly substitutable (the most likely case), water use will rise as the household accumulates capital and increases consumption. However, under conditions of a binding water constraint, per capita consumption (and thus welfare) must always be declining. The implication of this analysis is that the agricultural household clearly wants to maintain a situation of excess water supply, as the farming household would be reluctant to sell off "excess water" because of the possibility that this might drive the household into a situation where all available water must be appropriated.
    Agricultural Economics 03/2013; · 1.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Plant imports by the North American horticultural industry risk the accidental introduction of harmful nonnative species. An annual license fee paid by the industry would reduce this risk while raising funds for research, screening imported species, education, and the eradication of past plant invasions. However, implementing such a fee requires information on how long it takes introduced species to become established and on their spread rates and environmental damages. Implementing such a policy would be challenging in terms of the scientific data required to estimate the correct tax. There is also limited support among stakeholders for an annual fee compared with other policy options to stop invasives. The preferred policy is to screen all newly introduced plants and to ban those species with a high likelihood of becoming a potential invasive. Mandatory implementation of this scheme is preferable to voluntary implementation by the horticultural industry.
    BioScience 01/2013; 63(2):132-138. · 5.44 Impact Factor
  • Edward B Barbier
    Science 11/2012; 338(6109):887-8. · 31.48 Impact Factor
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  • Edward B. Barbier
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    ABSTRACT: Much of the rural poor -- who are growing in number -- are concentrated in ecologically fragile and remote areas. The key ecological scarcity problem facing such poor households is a vicious cycle of declining livelihoods, increased ecological degradation and loss of resource commons, and declining ecosystem services on which the poor depend. In addition, developing economies with high concentrations of their populations on fragile lands and in remote areas not only display high rates of rural poverty, but also are some of the poorest countries in the world today. Policies to eradicate poverty therefore need to be targeted at the poor where they live, especially the rural poor clustered in fragile environments and remote areas. The specific elements of such a strategy include involving the poor in payment for ecosystem services schemes and other measures that enhance the environments on which the poor depend; targeting investments directly to improving the livelihoods of the rural poor, thus reducing their dependence on exploiting environmental resources; tackling the lack of access of the rural poor in less favored areas to well-functioning and affordable markets for credit, insurance, and land; and reducing the high transportation and transaction costs that prohibit the poorest households in remote areas from engaging in off-farm employment and limit smallholder participation in national and global markets.
  • Edward Barbier
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    ABSTRACT: Funding is a major stumbling block for environmental initiatives, says Edward Barbier. Taxing financial transactions or trade in arms, tobacco and fuel might help.
    Nature 03/2012; 483(7387):30. · 42.35 Impact Factor
  • Edward B. Barbier
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    ABSTRACT: Resource and land frontiers have always been a significant focus of geography but have become overlooked in economics and economic history. Yet a critical driving force behind global economic development has been the response of human society to natural resource scarcity, not just through conserving scarce resources but also by obtaining and developing more of them. A handful of theories of how such classic frontier expansion has shaped economic development have been formulated, and these are discussed and reviewed. Evidence from history is cited to illustrate these effects, and the implications for resource-based development in the Contemporary Era (1950 to present) are discussed. Unlike previous eras, the pattern of frontier expansion is dualistic. This has led to less economy-wide benefits from frontier-based development in the Contemporary Era.
    Geographical Journal 02/2012; 178(2). · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we explore the use of trade policy in addressing transboundary stock pollution problems such as acid rain and water pollution. We show that a tariff determined by the current level of accumulated pollution can induce the time path of emissions optimal for the downstream (polluted) country. But if the upstream (polluting) country can lobby the downstream government to impose lower tariffs, distortions brought by corruption and foreign lobbying lead to a rise in the upstream country’s social welfare, and to a decrease in social welfare in the downstream country. Thus, the usefulness of trade policy as a tool for encouraging cooperation and internalizing transboundary externalities depends critically on the degree of governments’ susceptibility to foreign political influence.
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    Edward B. Barbier
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence suggests that the ecological functions underlying many ecosystem goods and services are spatially variable. For coastal systems, a simple model is developed incorporating a spatial production function that declines across an ecological landscape. The basic model demonstrates how spatial production of ecosystem services affects the location and extent of landscape conversion. An extension allows for the risk of ecological collapse, when the critical size of the remaining landscape that precipitates the collapse is not known. Both models are simulated using the example of spatial variation in ecosystem services across a mangrove habitat that might be converted to shrimp aquaculture.
    Ecological Economics. 01/2012; 78.

Publication Stats

5k Citations
492.43 Total Impact Points


  • 1995–2014
    • University of Wyoming
      • Department of Economics and Finance
      Laramie, Wyoming, United States
  • 2009
    • Portland State University
      • Department of Environmental Science and Management
      Portland, OR, United States
  • 2007
    • University of Rostock
      Rostock, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
  • 1996–2007
    • The University of York
      • Environment Department
      York, England, United Kingdom
  • 2006
    • Dalhousie University
      • Department of Biology
      Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 2005
    • Simon Fraser University
      Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2004
    • University of Pretoria
      • Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa (CEEPA)
      Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
    • Tilburg University
      • Department of Economics
      Tilburg, North Brabant, Netherlands
    • Kalamazoo College
      Michigan Center, Michigan, United States