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Altruism and the Economic Values of Environmental and Social Policies

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  • María Vázquez Rodríguez

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  • Carmelo León

Abstract

Altruism is a type of non-use value which can have different definitions depending on the type of goods entering the utility function of the altruists and their expectations about the contributions of others. The purpose of this paper is to measure the trade-offs between different types of altruist values originating from social and environmental policies. Environmental policies are concerned with reducing health effects from a power plant while social policies involve both the attainment of public facilities for education and leisure and an increase in the income of the affected population. The empirical application utilizes a choice experiment technique which allows for valuation of multiple goods. Health effects are decomposed into the values of the risk of becoming ill, the duration of the episodes and the limitations imposed by illness. Altruist values are elicited from a population that is not affected by pollution. Results show that altruism is significant for policies directed to reducing health effects and improving the income level of the affected population, whereas there is egoism for a policy aimed at improving public facilities in the polluted suburb. The value of altruism is significantly influenced by the expectations of net benefits to be received by the affected population. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Suggested Citation

  • María Vázquez Rodríguez & Carmelo León, 2004. "Altruism and the Economic Values of Environmental and Social Policies," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 28(2), pages 233-249, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:28:y:2004:i:2:p:233-249 DOI: 10.1023/B:EARE.0000029919.95464.0b
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    Cited by:

    1. Silvia Ferrini & Riccardo Scarpa, 2005. "Experimental Designs for Environmental Valuation with Choice-Experiments: A Monte-Carlo Investigation," Working Papers in Economics 05/08, University of Waikato.
    2. Eva Kougea & Phoebe Koundouri, "undated". "Air Quality Degradation: Can economics help in measuring its welfare effects? A Review of Economic Valuation Studies," DEOS Working Papers 1129, Athens University of Economics and Business.
    3. Fosgerau, Mogens & Bjørner, Thomas Bue, 2006. "Joint models for noise annoyance and willingness to pay for road noise reduction," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 164-178, February.
    4. Bosworth, Ryan & Cameron, Trudy Ann & DeShazo, J.R., 2009. "Demand for environmental policies to improve health: Evaluating community-level policy scenarios," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 293-308, May.
    5. Glenk, Klaus & Fischer, Anke, 2010. "Insurance, prevention or just wait and see? Public preferences for water management strategies in the context of climate change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 2279-2291, September.

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