This review focuses on four key scholars who were instrumental in helping to launch the field of natural resource economics: Siegfried von Ciriacy-Wantrup, James Crutchfield, John Krutilla, and Anthony Scott. Their contributions include recognizing natural resources as renewable capital, thereby altering the important dynamic dimensions of an efficient allocation. The introduction of irreversibility was a key element for decisions involving unique natural assets. Introducing uncertainty into these choices required consideration of appropriate public attitudes toward risk that led to the concept of a safe minimum standard. Identifying and emphasizing the salience of nonmarket values, particularly existence and bequest benefits, gave rise to the contingent valuation and the development of stated preference methods as a cottage industry. Setting forth and evaluating alternative management policies for open access resources in a dynamic context were other achievements. The backgrounds of these four scholars shaped their professional orientation; their contributions, in turn, have shaped the evolutionary path of resource economics research.


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