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Measuring the Economic Benefits of Water Quality Improvement with the Benefit Transfer Method: An Introduction for Non-Economists

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  • Chris Dumas
  • Pete Schuhmann
  • John C. Whitehead

Abstract

In this paper we provide an introduction to water quality benefit estimation for noneconomists. Net water quality benefits are typically measured using the concept of consumer surplus, which can be estimated using a number of economic valuation methodologies. These can be divided into direct and indirect methods. Direct methods involve questioning survey respondents to determine their consumer surplus. Indirect methods use data from consumer market behavior to estimate economic values. When limited time or funding preclude costly data collection and the development of new consumer surplus estimates, the method of benefit transfer can be used to tailor pre-existing consumer surplus estimates to fit new policy situations. We provide an example of benefit transfer by estimating the value of water quality improvements for the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. Benefit transfer methods are used with three valuation approaches to estimate the benefits of water quality improvement.

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File URL: http://econ.appstate.edu/RePEc/pdf/wp0412.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Appalachian State University in its series Working Papers with number 04-12.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:04-12

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Postal: Thelma C. Raley Hall, Boone, North Carolina 28608
Phone: 828-262-2148
Fax: 828-262-6105
Web page: http://www.business.appstate.edu/departments/economics/
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  1. Woodward, Richard T. & Wui, Yong-Suhk, 2001. "The economic value of wetland services: a meta-analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 257-270, May.
  2. Randall, Alan & Stoll, John R, 1980. "Consumer's Surplus in Commodity Space," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 449-55, June.
  3. Loomis, John B. & White, Douglas S., 1996. "Economic benefits of rare and endangered species: summary and meta-analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 197-206, September.
  4. John C. Whitehead & Timothy C. Haab & Ju-Chin Huang, 1999. "Measuring Recreation Benefits of Quality Improvements with Revealed and Stated Behavior Data," Working Papers 9902, East Carolina University, Department of Economics.
  5. Richard T. Carson & Nicholas E. Flores & Kerry M. Martin & Jennifer L. Wright, 1996. "Contingent Valuation and Revealed Preference Methodologies: Comparing the Estimates for Quasi-Public Goods," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(1), pages 80-99.
  6. V. Smith & Subhrendu Pattanayak, 2002. "Is Meta-Analysis a Noah's Ark for Non-Market Valuation?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(1), pages 271-296, June.
  7. V. Kerry Smith & George Van Houtven & Subhrendu K. Pattanayak, 2002. "Benefit Transfer via Preference Calibration: "Prudential Algebra" for Policy," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(1), pages 132-152.
  8. Downing, Mark & Ozuna, Teofilo Jr., 1996. "Testing the Reliability of the Benefit Function Transfer Approach," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 316-322, May.
  9. Smith, V. Kerry & Osborne, Laura L., 1996. "Do Contingent Valuation Estimates Pass a "Scope" Test? A Meta-analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 287-301, November.
  10. Kirchhoff, Stefanie & Colby, Bonnie G. & LaFrance, Jeffrey T., 1997. "Evaluating the Performance of Benefit Transfer: An Empirical Inquiry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 75-93, May.
  11. Hartman, Robert W., 1990. "One thousand points of light seeking a Issue: A case study of CBO's search for a discount rate policy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages S3-S7, March.
  12. Leggett, Christopher G. & Bockstael, Nancy E., 2000. "Evidence of the Effects of Water Quality on Residential Land Prices," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 121-144, March.
  13. Smith, V. Kerry & Van Houtven, George & Pattanayak, Subhrendu, 1999. "Benefit Transfer as Preference Calibration," Discussion Papers dp-99-36, Resources For the Future.
  14. Johansson,Per-Olov, 1987. "The Economic Theory and Measurement of Environmental Benefits," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521348102, October.
  15. Roy Brouwer & Frank Spaninks, 1999. "The Validity of Environmental Benefits Transfer: Further Empirical Testing," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 14(1), pages 95-117, July.
  16. Brouwer, Roy, 2000. "Environmental value transfer: state of the art and future prospects," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 137-152, January.
  17. Barton, David N., 2002. "The transferability of benefit transfer: contingent valuation of water quality improvements in Costa Rica," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 147-164, August.
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