A Developing Country Perspective
Edited by Pushpam Kumar and Ibrahim Thiaw
Chapter 9: Paying for international environmental public goods
How can we secure the provision of international environmental public goods? It is well understood that markets under-supply public goods, and there is a wealth of evidence that many environmental public goods have been systematically under-supplied over a long period of time (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005). If environmental public goods occur at the scale of the nation state or below, the failure of markets to supply public goods may be offset by the actions of local or national government. There exist many national agencies with responsibilities for the provision of environmental public goods such as habitat for rare and endangered species, clean water, environmental health protection and so on. There also exist many offset or mitigation systems for securing private provision of public goods at a national level (Madsen et al. 2010). At the international level, where there is no supranational authority to take responsibility, the failure of markets to deliver environmental public goods is more difficult to offset. Depending upon the magnitude and distribution of the pay offs to be had from provision of public goods, individual countries will have a stronger or weaker incentive to commit resources to their maintenance.
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