Negative externalities on property values resulting from water impairment: The case of the Pigeon River Watershed
The objective of this research was to determine whether willingness to bear the negative externality from water quality impairment differs between those who do and those who do not receive economic benefit from the impairment source. Differences were tested using a hedonic analysis of ambient water quality in two discrete housing markets in the Pigeon River Watershed, which have been polluted by the operation of a paper mill. The results suggest that North Carolina residents residing in subwatersheds with impaired portions of the Pigeon River, who experience economic benefit from the paper mill in addition to its harmful effects on water quality, do perceive the pollution as a negative externality. In contrast, the effects of both the degraded river and its contributing streams on property values are perceived as negative externalities by watershed residents in Tennessee who experience only harmful effects from the pollution. Differences in willingness to bear the water-impairment externality were not indicated by variables representing view of and proximity to impaired water bodies. The results suggest that the perception of water quality to which property owners implicitly apply value should be considered when establishing water-quality regulations.
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