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Ethical Issues with Contingent Valuation Surveys in Developing Countries: A Note on Informed Consent and Other Concerns

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  • Dale Whittington

Abstract

This article calls attention to some of the problems involved in the ethical review and oversight of contingent valuation research in developing countries, including the question of what informed consent means in a cross-cultural context. A central area of concern is that contingent valuation (CV) surveys have the potential to confuse or mislead respondents. This can cause an individual respondent who is confused or misled to take actions that could harm himself or members of his household. The spread of misinformation and confusion among the study population could also influence the policy process itself in unintended and unfortunate ways, perhaps harming the respondent or others. There are three main ways in which CV surveys can mislead or confuse an individual respondent and spread confusion in the study population: (1) inaccurate provision of background information in the CV scenario, (2) the description of the hypothetical market, and (3) the use of the referendum elicitation procedure and other split-sample experiments commonly used by CV researchers. The difficulties of cross-cultural communication and cooperation add to the ethical complexity of conducting CV surveys in developing countries. Three cross-cultural problems deserve special attention by both institutional review boards and contingent valuation researchers: (i) promises of anonymity and the right of respondents not to participate, (ii) power asymmetries between international and local members of the contingent valuation research team, and (iii) compensation of respondents. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/B:EARE.0000036776.89379.4f
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 28 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 507-515

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:28:y:2004:i:4:p:507-515

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100263

Related research

Keywords: contingent valuation method; ethical review; informed consent; institutional review boards;

References

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  1. Dale Whittington, 2007. "Improving the Performance of Contingent Valuation Studies in Developing Countries," EEPSEA Special and Technical Paper sp200709s1, Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA), revised Sep 2007.
  2. Whittington, Dale, 1998. "Administering contingent valuation surveys in developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 21-30, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Glenn Bush & Nick Hanley & Mirko Moro & Daniel Rondeau, 2013. "Measuring the Local Costs of Conservation: A Provision Point Mechanism for Eliciting Willingness to Accept Compensation," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 89(3), pages 490-513.
  2. Ahlheim, Michael & Börger, Tobias & Frör, Oliver, 2011. "Respondent incentives in contingent valuation: The role of reciprocity," FZID Discussion Papers 39-2011, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
  3. Dale Whittington & Stefano Pagiola, 2012. "Using Contingent Valuation in the Design of Payments for Environmental Services Mechanisms: A Review and Assessment," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 27(2), pages 261-287, August.
  4. Dale Whittington & Vic Adamowicz, 2010. "The Use of Hypothetical Baselines in Stated Preference Surveys," EEPSEA Special and Technical Paper sp201009s1, Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA), revised Sep 2010.
  5. Bush, Glenn & Hanley, Nicholas & Rondeau, Daniel, 2011. "Comparing opportunity cost measures of forest conservation in Uganda; implications for assessing the distributional impacts of forest management approac hes," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2011-12, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.

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