The assumption of equal marginal utility of income: how much does it matter?
In most applied cost-benefit analyses, individual willingness to pay is aggregated without using explicit welfare weights. This can be justified by postulating a utilitarian social welfare function, along with the assumption of equal marginal utility of income for all individuals. However, since marginal utility is a cardinal concept, there is no generally accepted way to verify the plausibility of this latter assumption, nor its empirical importance. In this paper we use data from seven contingent valuation studies to illustrate that if one instead assumes equal marginal utility of the public good for all individuals, aggregate monetary benefit estimates change dramatically.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Brekke, Kjell Arne, 1997. "The numeraire matters in cost-benefit analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 117-123, April.
- Hammond,Peter, 1988.
"Theoretical progress in public economics: A provocative assessment,"
Discussion Paper Serie A
171, University of Bonn, Germany.
- Hammond, Peter J, 1990. "Theoretical Progress in Public Economics: A Provocative Assessment," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 6-33, January.
- John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
- Vatn Arild & Bromley Daniel W., 1994. "Choices without Prices without Apologies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 129-148, March.
- Nyborg, Karine, 2000. "Project analysis as input to public debate: Environmental valuation versus physical unit indicators," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 393-408, September.
- I J Bateman & I H Langford, 1997. "Budget-Constraint, Temporal, and Question-Ordering Effects in Contingent Valuation Studies," Environment and Planning A, SAGE Publishing, vol. 29(7), pages 1215-1228, July.
- van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1991. "Ordinal and cardinal utility : An integration of the two dimensions of the welfare concept," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 69-89, October.
- Medin, Hege & Nyborg, Karine & Bateman, Ian, 2001.
"The assumption of equal marginal utility of income: how much does it matter?,"
Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 397-411, March.
- Hege Medin & Karine Nyborg & Ian Bateman, 1998. "The Assumption of Equal Marginal Utility of Income: How Much Does it Matter?," Discussion Papers 241, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
- Langford, Ian H. & Bateman, Ian J., 1996.
"Elicitation and truncation effects in contingent valuation studies,"
Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 265-267, December.
- Bateman, Ian J. & Langford, Ian H. & Turner, R. Kerry & Willis, Ken G. & Garrod, Guy D., 1995. "Elicitation and truncation effects in contingent valuation studies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 161-179, February.
- Johansson,Per-Olov, 1993. "Cost-Benefit Analysis of Environmental Change," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521447928, April.
- Ian Bateman & Alistair Munro & Bruce Rhodes & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 1997. "A Test of the Theory of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 479-505.
- Unsworth, Robert E. & Bishop, Richard C., 1994. "Assessing natural resource damages using environmental annuities," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 35-41, September.
- Carson, Richard T, 1999. "Contingent Valuation: A User's Guide," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt2mw607q7, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
- Peter J. Hammond, 1979. "Straightforward Individual Incentive Compatibility in Large Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(2), pages 263-282.
- Bromley, Daniel W., 1990. "The ideology of efficiency: Searching for a theory of policy analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 86-107, July.
- I J Bateman & I H Langford, 1997. "Budget-constraint, temporal, and question-ordering effects in contingent valuation studies," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 29(7), pages 1215-1228, July.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:36:y:2001:i:3:p:397-411. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.