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Doctoral thesis, 2016

Essays on environmental management

Marbuah, George


This thesis contributes to the economic literature on invasive species, social capital connection to climate change and environmental good provision as well as energy demand management. It contains five independent papers connected by the broader theme of environmental management. Two papers (I and II) deal with invasive species while the third and fourth probes the effect of social capital on carbon dioxide emissions (CO₂) and individuals’ decision to contribute toward environmental protection. The first paper attempts a comprehensive theoretical and empirical review of findings in economics with respect to the challenging question of how to manage invasive species. We find a relatively large body of literature on the assessment of damage costs of invasive species; single species and groups of species at different geographical scales. Estimated damage costs show large variation, from less than 1 million USD to costs corresponding to 12% of gross domestic product (GDP), depending on the methods employed, geographical scale, and scope with respect to inclusion of different species. In the second paper, a simple bioeconomic model is developed and applied to the management of the aquatic invasive species Elodea canadensis (Michx) in Lake Lötsjön in Sweden. A weed harvesting programme is proposed and numerically investigated based on the model. Results suggest that it is economically optimal to engage in the weed cutting programme since it yields positive net economic benefits and that early action is the best strategy. Social capital is the main connecting factor between Paper III and IV. In both papers, different constructs of social capital were computed through principal component analysis and modelled empirically to explain different environmental outcomes. Paper III investigates whether or not social capital explain Swedish county-level aggregate and sectoral per capita CO₂ emissions in an environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) framework. The results showed significant dampening effects of trust and overall social capital indices on total emissions, but impact heterogeneity was evident among sectors. Estimated effects were negative on emissions from industry but positive on transport emissions. In Paper IV, we assess the influence of social capital on individuals’ willingness to contribute toward environmental protection in Sweden. Findings show significant impact of social capital. The fifth paper provides an empirical analysis of energy demand in Ghana. Elasticities of seven key disaggregated energy types were estimated using time series analysis. The results suggest energy prices, income, urbanization and economic structure are significant demand drivers of the different energy types with varying elasticities. Further evidence show high degree of inter-fuel substitution in energy demand in Ghana, particularly from gasoline, diesel and kerosene toward LPG consumption.


Social capital; Carbon emissions; Spatial econometrics; Invasive species; Bioeconomic modelling; Willingness to contribute; Energy demand

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2016, number: 2016:114
ISBN: 978-91-576-8731-9, eISBN: 978-91-576-8732-6
Publisher: Department of Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics

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