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Is non-market valuation used in environmental policy making?


  • Rogers, A.
  • Kragt, Marit Ellen
  • Gibson, F.
  • Pannell, David J.
  • Burton, Michael P.
  • Petersen, L.


A vast literature exists on environmental non-market valuation research. It appears that results from these studies should be useful inputs to decision making about environmental policy or management. Here, we investigate the extent to which this occurs in practice in Australian environmental management bodies. Non-market valuation experts were surveyed about their studies that they believed to have influenced policy. Then, decision makers in environmental bodies were interviewed about the level of influence non-market valuation has had on their decisions. We find that researchers’ perceptions of the influence that non-market valuation has on decision making are overly optimistic. Interviews with decision makers suggest that non-market valuation is little used in decision making. Indeed, the majority of them are unfamiliar with non-market valuation techniques. Nevertheless, once the concept was explained to them, many decision makers believed it could benefit environmental policy. Researchers’ perceptions of the reasons for low usage of non-market valuation are largely inaccurate. We suggest a range of strategies that economists can use to promote the use of non-market valuation in environmental policy and management decisions, including ways to improve communication and engagement with decision makers, and strategies to increase the capacity for decision makers to use non-market valuation results.

Suggested Citation

  • Rogers, A. & Kragt, Marit Ellen & Gibson, F. & Pannell, David J. & Burton, Michael P. & Petersen, L., 2013. "Is non-market valuation used in environmental policy making?," Working Papers 156197, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uwauwp:156197
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.156197

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Catherine L. Kling & Daniel J. Phaneuf & Jinhua Zhao, 2012. "From Exxon to BP: Has Some Number Become Better Than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 3-26, Fall.
    2. R. Turner, 2007. "Limits to CBA in UK and European environmental policy: retrospects and future prospects," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 37(1), pages 253-269, May.
    3. Jerry Hausman, 2012. "Contingent Valuation: From Dubious to Hopeless," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 43-56, Fall.
    4. Adamowicz, Wiktor L., 2004. "What's it worth? An examination of historical trends and future directions in environmental valuation," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 48(3), pages 1-25.
    5. Gowan, Charles & Stephenson, Kurt & Shabman, Leonard, 2006. "The role of ecosystem valuation in environmental decision making: Hydropower relicensing and dam removal on the Elwha River," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 508-523, April.
    6. Driml, Sally M., 1997. "Bringing ecological economics out of the wilderness," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 145-153, November.
    7. Carson, Richard T & Wilks, Leanne & Imber, David, 1994. "Valuing the Preservation of Australia's Kakadu Conservation Zone," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 727-749, Supplemen.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. 256 – Attitudes to monetising environmental values
      by David Pannell in Pannell Discussions on 2013-11-12 09:30:10
    2. 271 – 10 years of blogging
      by David Pannell in Pannell Discussions on 2014-09-02 20:00:24


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    Cited by:

    1. Waite, Richard & Kushner, Benjamin & Jungwiwattanaporn, Megan & Gray, Erin & Burke, Lauretta, 2015. "Use of coastal economic valuation in decision making in the Caribbean: Enabling conditions and lessons learned," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 11(C), pages 45-55.


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