Brian R Copeland


I am a Professor in the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia.

I teach and do research in the the fields of Environmental Economics and International Trade. Most of my work has been on the interaction between globalization, the environment, and the sustainability of renewable resources.

My Google Scholar profile is available here.

Please click on paper titles for abstracts and full text downloads.

We develop a theory of resource management where the degree to which countries escape the tragedy of the commons, and hence the de facto property rights regime, is endogenously determined. Three forces determine success or failure in resource management: the regulator's enforcement power, the extent of harvesting capacity, and the ability of the resource to generate competitive returns without being extinguished. The model can explain heterogeneity across countries and resources in the effectiveness of resource management, and it predicts that changes in prices, population, and technology can cause transitions to better or worse management regimes.

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This paper demonstrates how several important results in environmental economics, true under mild conditions in closed economies, are false or need serious amendment in a world with international trade in goods. Since the results we highlight have framed much of the ongoing discussion and research on the Kyoto protocol, our viewpoint from trade theory suggests a re-examination may be in order. Specifically, we demonstrate that in an open trading world, but not in a closed economy setting: (1) unilateral emission reductions by the rich North can create self-interested emission reductions by the unconstrained poor South; (2) simple rules for allocating emission reductions across countries (such as uniform reductions) may well be efficient even if international trade in emission permits is not allowed; and (3) when international emission permit trade does occur it may make both participants in the trade worse off and increase global emissions.

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ECON471 Economics of Nonrenewable Resources

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ECON371 Economics of the Environment 

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ECON573 Environmental Economics

[go to syllabus Winter Session 2013/2014]