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On the relation between ecosystem services, intrinsic value, existence value and economic valuation


  • Davidson, Marc D.


Various attempts have been made to amalgamate the concepts of intrinsic value and ecosystem services, often with a stop-over at the economic concept of existence value. These attempts are based on a confusion of concepts, however. In this article, two types of non-use values are distinguished: warm glow value, related to the satisfaction people may derive from altruism towards nature, and existence value, related to the satisfaction people may derive from the mere knowledge that nature exists and originating in the human need for self-transcendence. As benefits to humans, warm glow and existence values can be considered ecosystem services. Neither warm glow value nor existence value represents benefits to nature itself, however. Intrinsic value lies outside the scope of the wide palette of ecosystem services.

Suggested Citation

  • Davidson, Marc D., 2013. "On the relation between ecosystem services, intrinsic value, existence value and economic valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 171-177.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:95:y:2013:i:c:p:171-177
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.09.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bartkowski, Bartosz, 2017. "Existence value, biodiversity, and the utilitarian dilemma," UFZ Discussion Papers 2/2017, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    2. Rodrigo Muniz & Maria João Cruz, 2015. "Making Nature Valuable, Not Profitable: Are Payments for Ecosystem Services Suitable for Degrowth?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(8), pages 1-27, August.
    3. Maria Bonaventura Forleo & Nicola Gagliardi & Luca Romagnoli, 2015. "Determinants of Willingness to Pay for an Urban Green Area: A Contingent Valuation Survey of College Students," International Journal of Management, Knowledge and Learning, International School for Social and Business Studies, Celje, Slovenia, vol. 4(1), pages 7-25.
    4. repec:eee:ecolec:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:245-260 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Saner, Marc A. & Bordt, Michael, 2016. "Building the consensus: The moral space of earth measurement," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 74-81.


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