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The necessity to develop a priority system to guide the allocation of resources to the conservation of endangered species is widely recognized. The economic theory of biodiversity has established a framework to do so, and has identified priority criteria that should be considered when making conservation decisions. This paper uses a random effects ordered probit model of endangered species recovery to simulate the effects of reallocating conservation funds among species listed under the Endangered Species Act according to these criteria. Our results suggest that if the goal of conservation policy is to preserve a diverse set of species, reallocating conservation funds according to criteria identified by economic theory would yield an improvement over actual spending patterns without significant tradeoffs in terms of overall species recovery.


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