Toulouse School of Economics
An evaluation of protected area policies in the European Union
Monday, April 17, 2023 – 05:15 – 06:30 PM (CEST)
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The European Union designates 26% of its landmass as a protected area. Protected area policies limit economic development to favor the development of biodiversity. This paper builds a high-resolution remote sensing dataset covering Europe and uses the staggered introduction of protected area policies between 1980 and 2020 to study the selection of land for protection and the causal effect of protection on vegetation cover. Our results reveal that levels and trends in vegetation cover as measured by an NDVI index are statistically indistinguishable for protected and unprotected land. Land that is protected later is not greening differently than land that is protected earlier. We conclude that European conservation efforts lack ambition because policymakers select land for protection not threatened by development.
Mathias Reynaert is a Professor of Economics at the Toulouse School of Economics and a research affiliate at the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). His fields of interest are empirical industrial organization and environmental economics. Mathias works on the evaluation of European environmental policy. He received the 2022 Prix Edmond Malinvaud, the Banque de France price for young researchers in green finance, and an ERC starting grant. He holds a Ph.D. from the KU Leuven and the University of Antwerp and was a visiting scholar at MIT CEEPR.
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