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An economic approach to environmental indices

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  • Bellenger, Moriah J.
  • Herlihy, Alan T.

Abstract

This study uses the directional output distance function from economic productivity theory as an alternative approach to environmental index construction. We use the directional output distance function to aggregate multiple environmental objectives into one measure of environmental performance. We apply this method to a set of watershed data and compare our results to the existing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) index values. When modeling the same set of objectives, the directional output distance function and the existing EPA index yield similar measures of environmental performance. We discuss the mathematical properties of both indices using the axioms of economic index theory, and explore the possible advantages to our approach. The mathematical properties of the directional output distance function are well established and this approach provides a nonparametric way to aggregate individual characteristics. This advances the standard use of a priori-weighted summation, and circumvents the often contentious selection of index weights.

Suggested Citation

  • Bellenger, Moriah J. & Herlihy, Alan T., 2009. "An economic approach to environmental indices," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2216-2223, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:8-9:p:2216-2223
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Azad, Md A.S. & Ancev, Tihomir, 2010. "Using ecological indices to measure economic and environmental performance of irrigated agriculture," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 1731-1739, June.
    2. Ke Wang & Yujiao Xian & Chia-Yen Lee & Yi-Ming Wei & Zhimin Huang, 2017. "On selecting directions for directional distance functions in a non-parametric framework: A review," CEEP-BIT Working Papers 99, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEP), Beijing Institute of Technology.
    3. Bostian, Moriah B. & Herlihy, Alan T., 2014. "Valuing tradeoffs between agricultural production and wetland condition in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 284-291.
    4. H. K. Millington & J. E. Lovell & C. A. K. Lovell, 2013. "Using Fieldwork, GIS and DEA to Guide Management of Urban Stream Health," CEPA Working Papers Series WP072013, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    5. Millington, H.K. & Lovell, J.E. & Lovell, C.A.K., 2015. "A framework for guiding the management of urban stream health," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 222-233.
    6. Byeong U. Park & Léopold Simar & Valentin Zelenyuk, 2013. "Non-Parametric Approach to Dynamic Time Series Discrete Choice Models," CEPA Working Papers Series WP092013, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    7. Bellenger, Moriah J. & Herlihy, Alan T., 2010. "Performance-based environmental index weights: Are all metrics created equal?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 1043-1050, March.
    8. Sahoo, Biresh K. & Acharya, Debashis, 2010. "An alternative approach to monetary aggregation in DEA," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 204(3), pages 672-682, August.
    9. Karagiannis, Giannis & Knox Lovell, C.A., 2016. "Productivity measurement in radial DEA models with a single constant input," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 251(1), pages 323-328.
    10. Francesco Vidoli & Elisa Fusco & Claudio Mazziotta, 2015. "Non-compensability in Composite Indicators: A Robust Directional Frontier Method," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 122(3), pages 635-652, July.
    11. Sahoo, Biresh K. & Singh, Ramadhar & Mishra, Bineet & Sankaran, Krithiga, 2017. "Research productivity in management schools of India during 1968-2015: A directional benefit-of-doubt model analysis," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 66(PA), pages 118-139.
    12. Wang, H., 2015. "A generalized MCDA–DEA (multi-criterion decision analysis–data envelopment analysis) approach to construct slacks-based composite indicator," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 114-122.

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