Economic Production and Biodiversity in the United States

Ivan Rudik (Cornell University)

April 4, 2022, 11:00–12:15


Room Auditorium 4

Environment Economics Seminar


Species extinctions and ecological degradation are accelerating to a degree unprecedented in human history. We present causal evidence on the economic drivers of biodiversity loss using a novel panel dataset on the types and quantities of wildlife at thousands of locations across the U.S. from 1960-2015. Exploiting fiscal and regulatory shocks to local economic output, we document large, negative impacts of GDP on abundance and diversity of species spanning multiple taxa. The adverse effects of production are mitigated by conservation and air emission abatement efforts, which points toward habitat losses and pollution as underlying contributors to contemporaneous biodiversity declines.