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Problems in valuing the benefits of biodiversity protection

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  • Nick Hanley
  • Clive Spash
  • Lorna Walker

Abstract

This paper considers two problems in valuing the benefits of biodiversity protection. These are, firstly, that preferences for biodiversity protection may be lexicographic rather than utilitarian. The more individuals for whom this is true, the less is cost-benefit analysis validated as a means of decision making for biodiversity protection, since lexicographic preferences are incompatible with the Kaldor-Hicks Compensation Test. Secondly, people may be poorly informed about the meaning of biodiversity, complicating the use of contingent valuation as a means of measuring preservation benefits. This paper first discusses the meaning of biodiversity, and trends in diversity over time. We offer some empirical evidence with regard to lexicographic preferences; consider the implications of having poorly-informed consumers; and then report the results of a contingent valuation study of biodiversity protection with varying levels of information. We find that willingness to pay for biodiversity protection increases with the level of information provided. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Suggested Citation

  • Nick Hanley & Clive Spash & Lorna Walker, 1995. "Problems in valuing the benefits of biodiversity protection," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(3), pages 249-272, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:5:y:1995:i:3:p:249-272
    DOI: 10.1007/BF00691519
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    1. Jean-Michel Salles, 2011. "Valuing biodiversity and ecosystem services: why linking economic values with Nature?," Working Papers 11-24, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Dec 2011.
    2. Knut Veisten & Ståle Navrud & Johnny Valen, 2006. "Lexicographic preference in biodiversity valuation: Tests of inconsistencies and willingness to pay," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(2), pages 167-180.
    3. Stefan Mann, 2007. "Comparing Interpersonal Comparisons in Utility Theory and Happiness Research," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 36(1), pages 29-42, April.
    4. D. Strijker & F. Sijtsma & D. Wiersma, 2000. "Evaluation of Nature Conservation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 16(4), pages 363-378, August.
    5. Strijker, Dirk & Sijtsma, F.J. & Bettels, K., 2000. "Evaluating Nature Conservation: The Case of Meadow Birds in The Netherlands," Agricultural Economics Review, Greek Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 1(2), pages 1-14, August.
    6. David Pearce & Giles Atkinson, 1998. "The concept of sustainable development: An evaluation of its usefulness ten years after Brundtland," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 134(III), pages 251-269, September.
    7. MacMillan, Douglas & Hanley, Nick & Buckland, Steve, 1995. "Valuing Biodiversity Losses Due To Acid Deposition: A Contingent Valuation Study Of Uncertain Environmental Gains," Discussion Papers in Ecological Economics 140539, University of Stirling, Department of Economics.
    8. Veisten, Knut, 2007. "Contingent valuation controversies: Philosophic debates about economic theory," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 204-232, April.
    9. Oliver Fromm, 2000. "Ecological Structure and Functions of Biodiversity as Elements of Its Total Economic Value," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 16(3), pages 303-328, July.
    10. Felix Schläpfer & Michael Tucker & Irmi Seidl, 2002. "Returns from Hay Cultivation in Fertilized Low Diversity and Non-Fertilized High Diversity Grassland," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(1), pages 89-100, January.
    11. Kamel Louhichi & Guillermo Flichman & Jean Boisson, 2010. "Bio-economic modelling of soil erosion externalities and policy options: a Tunisian case study," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 145-167, July.
    12. Aslaksen, Iulie & Ingeborg Myhr, Anne, 2007. ""The worth of a wildflower": Precautionary perspectives on the environmental risk of GMOs," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 489-497, January.
    13. Oliver Froer, 2003. "Using Stated Preference Methods for Biodiversity Valuation. A critical analysis," Diskussionspapiere aus dem Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre der Universität Hohenheim 217/2003, Department of Economics, University of Hohenheim, Germany.
    14. Martinet, Vincent & Blanchard, Fabian, 2009. "Fishery externalities and biodiversity: Trade-offs between the viability of shrimp trawling and the conservation of Frigatebirds in French Guiana," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 2960-2968, October.
    15. Iulie Aslaksen & Anne Ingeborg Myhr, 2006. ""The worth of a wildflower" Precautionary perspectives on the environmental risk of GMOs," Discussion Papers 476, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    16. Paulo A.L.D. Nunes & Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh & Peter Nijkamp, 2000. "Ecological-Economic Analysis and Valuation of Biodiversity," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-100/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    17. Menzel, Susanne & Wiek, Arnim, 2009. "Valuation in morally charged situations: The role of deontological stances and intuition for trade-off making," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2198-2206, June.
    18. Eija, Pouta & Annika, Tienhaara & Heini, Ahtiainen, 2014. "Citizens’ preferences for policies to conserve agricultural genetic resources," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 182679, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    19. David Pearce & Giles Atkinson, 1998. "Concept of sustainable development: An evaluation of its usefulness 10 years after Brundtland," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 1(2), pages 95-111, December.

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