OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

The Sustainable Management of a Productive Natural Capital

This paper examines an industry whose economic activity uses a natural capital on which its profit also relies. When such a productive natural capital has a limited capacity to recover from its exploitation, a free market tends to over-exploit it, calling for public intervention. The analysis is relevant, among other examples, to the case of nature- based tourism. I study the sustainable management of a productive natural capital: the conditions under which its exploitation generates maximum long-run social benefits; the various ways in which a regulator can implement such an exploitation; the rent that it generates for the industry; the effect of social discounting and operators’ short-termism, etc. Particular attention is given to situations in which the regulator gives more importance to the industry than it does to consumers, as when consumers are foreigners or when the industry generates needed tax revenues. In those contexts, I find that the industry should make more efforts of conservation, rather than less.


Keywords: Optimum taxation, Optimal regulation, Public revenue needs, Renewable natural resources, Nature-based tourism, Over-exploitation, Pro-industry regulation
JEL: L1: Industrial Organization / Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance; H5: Public Economics / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies; Q2: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Renewable Resources and Conservation
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