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Elephants and Mammoths: Can Ice Ivory Save Blood Ivory? - Naima Farah

Date & Time:
April 15, 2015 | 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
SS 423
Naima Farah

Abstract:   We study how the presence of a substitute alters the exploitation path of an open access resource.  We model elephants, poached for ivory, as the endangered species, with mammoth ivory as an non-renewable substitute.  Our theory shows that the presence of the mammoth ivory substitute reduces the elephant poaching rate.  We find that if the initial elephant population is sufficiently high, the mammoth ivory substitute ensures that the elephant population avoids extinction. But for low initial elephant stocks, the mammoth ivory substitute only causes extinction to be delayed, not avoided. Our empirical analysis concludes that the 84 tonnes of Russian mammoth ivory exports per annum 2010-2012 reduced poaching from 85,000 elephants per year to current poaching of about 34,000 elephants per year, and reduced elephant ivory prices by about $100 per kilogram. Thus policies promoting mammoth ivory trade contribute to elephant conservation.


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