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Impure Public Goods and Conservation of Marine Biodiversity

The process of marine conservation is rapidly becoming a challenge because of increasing environmental destruction and less commitment toward preservation. To efficiently carryout marine biodiversity conservation, it is necessary to reframe the problem and instead of placing more focus on private benefits that threaten marine biodiversity, it is best to consider public benefits that equally contribute to this issue. Thus, it is essential to consider the conservation of marine biodiversity within the context of public goods, in particular, impure public goods aimed at the benefit of everyone. Therefore, conservation of marine biodiversity can be accomplished within the framework of impure public goods since their properties can be manipulated to bring long-term change.

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Impure Public Good

An impure public good satisfies the two characteristics of a public good being non-excludable and non-rival, but only partially (Arriagada and Perrings 798). Therefore, impure public goods can be excludable and divisible in essence. An increase of the group size of consumers tends to decrease the marginal benefit to an individual. As a consequence, impure public goods can be transformed to private goods. For instance, by being partially excludable, it is possible to prevent non-paying customers from using them. An illustration of this is when a fee is charged before people are allowed to fish in certain fisheries or take boat rides in certain waters hence preserving marine biodiversity. However, it has been argued that characterizing impure public goods as private goods has the negative implication of resulting in tremendous social problems that make such an action unethical. Moreover, by being partially non-rival, it is possible for an individuals use to reduce the availability to others. It is vital to note that for impure public goods, it is usually not possible for a single state to oversee their provision on its own. This is why international coordination and cooperation becomes significant in their provision (Arriagada and Perrings 799).

Externalities Associated with Impure Public Good

There are externalities associated with the impure public goods. Externalities are the costs and benefits associated with many human activities that excess jurisdictional boundaries (Arriagada and Perrings 803). Consequently, the types of externalities associated with impure public goods are divided into two categories: positive and negative. A negative externality is an external cost that is associated with an impure public good. It occurs when an activity creates costs. In this sense, it results from an impure public good creating harm or discomfort. An example of such activity is people polluting fisheries hence challenging the conservation process. This will create harm to the marine life in these fisheries. There will be an external cost that will be passed onto the people living around these fisheries in terms of loss of livelihood. A positive externality is an external benefit that is associated with an impure public good. It occurs when an activity confers benefits to those involved. The benefits from marine diversity include aspects such as fish, but it needs to be conserved through controlled fishing.

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Public Good Supply Technology

Public good supply technology refers to the technique of trans-boundary provision of public goods. This technology has the distinct ability of influencing the structure of payoffs applied to the supply of the public goods. Further, this technology tends to describe public goods in terms of the manner in which individual country contributions influence their provision. Therefore, examples of public good supply technologies include the step, best step, better-shot, weakest link, weaker link, summation and threshold public good supply technologies. Despite the existence of all these examples, the three most common public good supply technologies are actually the additive, best shot and the weakest link technology (Arriagada and Perrings 799). First, in the step public good supply technology, the public good can be supplied only if a minimum amount has been added to its production. Examples of international environmental public goods that can be supplied through step technology include establishment and maintenance of conservation bio-corridors between the sub-populations of a meta-population and eradication of infectious diseases such as small pox. Secondly, the best step public good supply technology entails the supply of a public good dependence on the efforts of a single country, which is the most effective provider of the public good. An example of a best step public good technology is a nuclear defensive shield whereby the countries of the defense pact highly depend on the country with the most effective shield. Thirdly, the better-shot public good supply technology, which has a similar impact with weaker link technology, is a less strict aggregation technology. In this respect, the country with the smallest or largest effort has the most influence on the production level of a given public good. The weakest link public good supply technology implies the supply of a public good dependence on the efforts of a single country that is the least provider of the good. An example of a public good supplied this way is the curbing of invasive pest species spread. Summation public good supply technology applies to public goods whose benefits to all countries highly depend on the sum of the efforts of each country. Thus, for this kind of public goods each countrys effort contributes the quantity and quality to the given good. One excellent example of the kind of public good supplied in this manner is the mitigation of climate change through the process of carbon sequestration. Finally, the threshold public good supply technology entails goods that yield no benefit below a certain scale of provision. However, the marginal value of their subsequent contribution may be positive. For example, the control of infectious disease.

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Economic Incentives Created for Impure Public Goods

There is a number of economic incentives that are created for impure public goods with different technologies of public good supply. Discussing these economic incentives is effective in demonstrating how marine biodiversity can be conserved within the framework of impure public goods. The first economic incentive that can be created for an impure public good is the eco-tax. Eco-tax, which can sometimes be referred to as the green fees, represents the charges imposed with the goal of enabling full cost accounting of economic activities through the use of fiscal policies. An example of an eco-tax that can be created for an impure public good within the context of conserving marine biodiversity is the polluter pays principle. This eco-tax provides economic incentives for sustaining ecological activities. Harvest tax is another example of the eco-tax. They represent a way of internalizing the spillovers related to harvesting (Bulte, Kooten and Swanson 16).Subsidies are also economic incentives that are created for impure public goods. Their purpose is encouraging the adoption of desirable practices concerning the environment. They can be an efficient and equitable instrument of conservation (Bulte, Kooten and Swanson 12). For instance, the government can subsidize harvesters to lower their rate of harvest. In the case of marine biodiversity, fishermen and other users of marine resources can be subsidized to reduce their usage rate of these resources. This is effective in lowering the optimal level of marine resource use.

In conclusion, understanding impure public goods is significant in assessing the specific context of their usage. Impure public goods possess an unique characteristic of being partially non excludable and non-rival. They are associated with externalities, which can have either positive or negative effects on the people living around. They can be used as a framework for achieving the conservation of marine biodiversity through the economic incentives created by different technologies of public goods supply. Therefore, specific incentives that can be used to conserve marine biodiversity through impure public goods include the eco-tax and subsidies.

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