The Control of Invasive Species on Private Property with Neighbor-to-Neighbor Spillovers

Eli P. Fenichel, Timothy Richards, David W. Shanafelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Invasive pests cross property boundaries. Property managers may have private incentives to control invasive species despite not having sufficient incentive to fully internalize the external costs of their role in spreading the invasion. Each property manager has a right to future use of his own property, but his property may abut others' properties enabling spread of an invasive species. The incentives for a foresighted property manager to control invasive species have received little attention. We consider the efforts of a foresighted property manager who has rights to future use of a property and has the ability to engage in repeated, discrete control activities. We find that higher rates of dispersal, associated with proximity to neighboring properties, reduce the private incentives for control. Controlling species at one location provides incentives to control at a neighboring location. Control at neighboring locations are strategic complements and coupled with spatial heterogeneity lead to a weaker-link public good problem, in which each property owner is unable to fully appropriate the benefits of his own control activity. Future-use rights and private costs suggest that there is scope for a series of Coase-like exchanges to internalize much of the costs associated with species invasion. Pigouvian taxes on invasive species potentially have qualitatively perverse behavioral effects. A tax with a strong income effect (e.g., failure of effective revenue recycling) can reduce the value of property assets and diminish the incentive to manage insects on one's own property.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-255
Number of pages25
JournalEnvironmental and Resource Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2014


  • Asian citrus psyllid
  • Bioeconomics
  • Citrus
  • Dynamic programming
  • Invasive species
  • Property rights
  • Repeat optimal stopping
  • Spatial externalities
  • Value function approximation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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