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Altruism and the Demand for Environmental Quality

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  • David Popp

Abstract

This paper asks whether individuals consider the value that future generations will receive from environmental quality when deciding what level of environmental protection to provide. Using data on life expectancy, I develop two tests for altruism towards future generations. One, a test for strong altruism, asks whether individual motives are purely altruistic when deciding to provide environmental quality. The second, a test for weak altruism, combines an individual’ s concern for both self-interest and the interest of future generations. Using data from a Washington Post survey on environmental attitudes to implement the test, I find evidence of weak altruism.

Suggested Citation

  • David Popp, 2001. "Altruism and the Demand for Environmental Quality," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(3), pages 339-349.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:77:y:2001:i:3:p:339-349
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Simon, Herbert A, 1993. "Altruism and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 156-161, May.
    2. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    3. Sellar, Christine & Chavas, Jean-Paul & Stoll, John R., 1986. "Specification of the logit model: The case of valuation of nonmarket goods," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 382-390, December.
    4. Cameron, Trudy Ann & James, Michelle D, 1987. "Efficient Estimation Methods for "Closed-ended' Contingent Valuation Surveys," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(2), pages 269-276, May.
    5. Becker, Gary S, 1976. "Altruism, Egoism, and Genetic Fitness: Economics and Sociobiology," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 817-826, September.
    6. Deacon, Robert T & Shapiro, Perry, 1975. "Private Preference for Collective Goods Revealed Through Voting on Referenda," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 943-955, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General

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