Discussion Papers

On Valuing Nature-Based 

Solutions to Climate Change: 

A Framework with Application to Elephants and Whales


We develop a framework for natural resource valuation that directly addresses the fundamental collective action problem in environmental protection. Our framework uses the lessons of behavioral economics to create values that individual decision makers find credible and relatable, in addition to stimulating excitement or concern that is essential to prompting action. 

We then apply this framework to value forest elephants in Africa and great whales that are found off the coasts of Brazil and Chile. The values we estimate for individual members of these species are significant: $1.75 million per forest elephant and an average of $2 million per whale. We discuss how our valuations lead to new designs for environmental preservation and restoration policies. 

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