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Preferences, information and biodiversity preservation

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  • Spash, Clive L.
  • Hanley, N

Abstract

This paper considers the nature of preferences for the preservation of biodiversity, and the extent to which individuals are well-informed about biodiversity. We present evidence that the elicitation of monetary bids to pay for biodiversity preservation, as required for cost-benefit analysis, fails as a measure of welfare changes due to the prevalence of preferences which neoclassical economics defines as lexicographic. That is, a significant proportion of individuals refuse to make trade-offs which require the substitution of biodiversity for other goods. In addition, we show that understanding of the biodiversity concept is extremely limited, raising concerns over a reliance on stated preferences, as revealed in contingent valuation studies, for decision-making on this issue. Results from two samples (students and the general public) are described. This is a paper from the Ecological Economics discussion paper series edited by Clive L. Spash and run from Stirling University from 1994 to 1996. This particular paper was later published as (Spash and Hanley, 1995). Spash, C.L., Hanley, N., 1995. Preferences, information and biodiversity preservation. Ecological Economics vol.12, no.3 pp.191-208.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 38351.

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Date of creation: Jul 1994
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Publication status: Published in Ecological Economics 3.12(1995): pp. 191-208
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38351

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Keywords: biodiversity; forestry; lexicographic preferences; cost-benefit analysis; contingent valuation; environmental ethics; incommensurability; rights; deep ecology;

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  1. Solow Andrew & Polasky Stephen & Broadus James, 1993. "On the Measurement of Biological Diversity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 60-68, January.
  2. Willig, Robert D, 1976. "Consumer's Surplus without Apology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 589-97, September.
  3. Knetsch, Jack L., 1990. "Environmental policy implications of disparities between willingness to pay and compensation demanded measures of values," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 227-237, May.
  4. Nick Hanley & Alistair Munro, . "The Effects of Information in Contingent Markets for Enviromental Goods," Working Papers Series e94/5, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  5. Thomas H. Stevens & Jaime Echeverria & Ronald J. Glass & Tim Hager & Thomas A. More, 1991. "Measuring the Existence Value of Wildlife: What Do CVM Estimates Really Show?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 67(4), pages 390-400.
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