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Ariane Amin and Johanna Choumert
''Development and biodiversity conservation in Sub-Saharan Africa: A spatial analysis''
( 2015, Vol. 35 No.1 )
The current study seeks to provide a sound analysis of the relationship between economic development and species loss in Sub-Saharan African countries. The motivation is that a better understanding of the impact of economic development on species loss is of great relevance, given the current rapid extinction of species along with challenges born from the context of economic development in poor countries. The analysis draws on the most up-to-date data on threatened species from 48 sub-Saharan African countries. Assuming that spatial autocorrelation is a typical problem for biodiversity data, we use Maximum-likelihood estimators to account for spatial-autoregressiveness in the dependent variable, as well as in the explanatory variables of the models. We find evidence that supports a decrease of biodiversity loss, measured as the percent of threatened bird species, with increasing income per capita. The results also reveal some species-level differences in the biodiversity-development relationship, since we find no significant impact of economic development measured as per capita income on threatened mammal species. This analysis contributes to the literature by partially challenging the paradigm of a strictly positive relationship between biodiversity loss and economic growth in a developing countries context.
Keywords: biodiversity, threatened species, spatial econometrics, spatial Durbin model
JEL: Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics: General
O1 - Economic Development: General
Manuscript Received : Jul 24 2014 Manuscript Accepted : Mar 28 2015

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