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Valuing scenic amenity using life satisfaction data

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  • Ambrey, Christopher L.
  • Fleming, Christopher M.

Abstract

The life satisfaction approach has recently emerged as a new technique in the suite of options available to non-market valuation practitioners. Employing data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), this paper examines the influence of scenic amenity on the life satisfaction of residents of South East Queensland (SEQ), Australia. Measuring scenic amenity on a 10-point scale, it is found that, on average, a respondent is willing-to-pay approximately AUD$14,000 in household income per annum to obtain a one-unit improvement in scenic amenity. However, on closer inspection, we find that the relationship between willingness-to-pay and the level of scenic amenity is not linear. To our knowledge, this is the first paper to value scenic amenity using the life satisfaction approach and is the first paper to use this approach to value any type of environmental good or service in SEQ. As such, this paper represents a genuine contribution to a small, yet growing, body of literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Ambrey, Christopher L. & Fleming, Christopher M., 2011. "Valuing scenic amenity using life satisfaction data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 106-115.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:72:y:2011:i:c:p:106-115
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.09.011
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    Keywords

    Geographic Information Systems (GIS); Happiness; Household; Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA); Life satisfaction; Non-market valuation; Scenic amenity;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General

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