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Abstract

Economic models of trade in endangered species products often do not incorporate four focal arguments in the policy debate over trade bans: 1) law-abiding consumers may operate in another market, separate from illegal consumers, that trade would bring online; 2) legal trade reduces stigma, which affects demand of law-abiding consumers; 3) laundering may bring illegal goods to legal markets when trade is allowed; 4) legal sales may affect illegal supply costs. This paper analyzes systematically which aspects of these complicated markets, separately or in combination, are important for determining whether limited legalized trade in otherwise illegal goods can be helpful for achieving policy goals like reducing poaching.

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