The International Yearbook of Environmental and Resource Economics 2006/2007
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The International Yearbook of Environmental and Resource Economics 2006/2007

A Survey of Current Issues

Edited by Tom Tietenberg and Henk Folmer

This major annual publication presents a comprehensive overview of cutting-edge issues in environmental and resource economics.
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Chapter 2: Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Spatial Analysis in Resource and Environmental Economics

Ian Bateman, Wanhong Yang and Peter Boxall


Ian Bateman, Wanhong Yang and Peter Boxall 1. INTRODUCTION Most, if not all, of the problems addressed by resource and environmental economists have a spatial dimension by nature. Assets such as natural resources and disamenities such as pollution emissions can be located in space. That location defines a myriad of proximities with other resources, the complexity of which poses a substantial empirical challenge to economic analyses of resource and pollution management decisions. Meeting this challenge constitutes one of the major tasks which economists must address if they are to provide meaningful inputs to the decision process. Recent years have witnessed what we suggest are the first steps in a revolution in the way in which economists incorporate spatial complexity within their analyses. This revolution is fuelled by the importation from other disciplines (notably applied geography) of both innovative techniques of spatial analysis and new tools for facilitating such analyses, in particular geographical information systems (GIS). While still in its early days, the use of GIS within environmental and resource economics is growing rapidly. Examples of applications already range from simple data preparation and mapping tasks to more complex data integration and manipulation exercises. These have afforded demonstrable and significant improvements in analytical rigour (for overviews of examples see Bateman et al. 2002a; 2003). However, as economists seek to address more complex problems, so the advances in data availability and interrogation afforded by GIS increasingly need to be supplemented by more sophisticated spatial analysis methods. This chapter...

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