IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cdl/ucsdec/qt12t5g549.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Public Preferences Towards Environmental Risks: The Case of Trihalomethanes

Author

Listed:
  • Carson, Richard T
  • Mitchell, Robert Cameron

Abstract

We present the results of an in-depth study in a small Southern Illinois town looking at the public's preferences with respect to reducing trihalomethanes (THMs) in their public drinking water system. THMs are an interesting environmental risk to study. First they are a low-level risk created as a byproduct (via chlorination) of reducing the much larger risk of bacterial contamination. Second, THMs are a weak carcinogen (with a scientific debate over how weak) with a long latency period. Third, small towns pose an interesting policy trade-off question with respect to THMs due to the sharply rising per capita cost of carbon filtration as population decreases. Further, filtration at the home or tap level is a viable alternative to public filtration. These issues are considered in the context of designing a survey to elicit maximum willingness to pay (WTP) for a reduction in THMs. The key survey design question involves how to communicate low-level risks of different magnitudes to respondents. Respondents were randomly assigned to different risk levels and statistical tests reject the hypothesis that WTP estimates are insensitive to the risk levels assigned. Our value of a statistical life estimates are quite low relative to most estimates in the literature. Our estimates should be low, however, if respondents discount due to the long latency period. After allowing for discounting using commonly used rates, our value of a statistical life estimates are well within the range commonly found in the literature for WTP to avoid current period fatal accidents.

Suggested Citation

  • Carson, Richard T & Mitchell, Robert Cameron, 2000. "Public Preferences Towards Environmental Risks: The Case of Trihalomethanes," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt12t5g549, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt12t5g549
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/12t5g549.pdf;origin=repeccitec
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Horowitz, John K & Carson, Richard T, 1990. "Discounting Statistical Lives," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 403-413, December.
    2. Cropper, Maureen L & Portney, Paul R, 1990. "Discounting and the Evaluation of Lifesaving Programs," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 369-379, December.
    3. Fetherstonhaugh, David & Slovic, Paul & Johnson, Stephen & Friedrich, James, 1997. "Insensitivity to the Value of Human Life: A Study of Psychophysical Numbing," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 283-300, May-June.
    4. Hammitt, James K & Graham, John D, 1999. "Willingness to Pay for Health Protection: Inadequate Sensitivity to Probability?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 33-62, April.
    5. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L., 1992. "Valuing public goods: The purchase of moral satisfaction," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 57-70, January.
    6. Werner, Megan, 1999. "Allowing for Zeros in Dichotomous-Choice Contingent-Valuation Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(4), pages 479-486, October.
    7. Smith, V Kerry & Desvousges, William H, 1987. "An Empirical Analysis of the Economic Value of Risk Changes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 89-114, February.
    8. John B. Loomis & Pierre H. duVair, 1993. "Evaluating the Effect of Alternative Risk Communication Devices on Willingness to Pay: Results from a Dichotomous Choice Contingent Valuation Experiment," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 69(3), pages 287-298.
    9. Mark J. Machina, 1995. "Non-Expected Utility and The Robustness of the Classical Insurance Paradigm," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 20(1), pages 9-50, June.
    10. Beattie, Jane & Covey, Judith & Dolan, Paul & Hopkins, Lorraine & Jones-Lee, Michael & Loomes, Graham & Pidgeon, Nick & Robinson, Angela & Spencer, Anne, 1998. "On the Contingent Valuation of Safety and the Safety of Contingent Valuation: Part 1--Caveat Investigator," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 5-25, October.
    11. Moore, Don A., 1999. "Order Effects in Preference Judgments: Evidence for Context Dependence in the Generation of Preferences, ," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 146-165, May.
    12. Hoehn, John P. & Randall, Alan, 1987. "A satisfactory benefit cost indicator from contingent valuation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 226-247, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Richard Carson & Nicholas Flores & Norman Meade, 2001. "Contingent Valuation: Controversies and Evidence," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 19(2), pages 173-210, June.
    2. Desvousges, William & Mathews, Kristy & Train, Kenneth, 2012. "Adequate responsiveness to scope in contingent valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 121-128.
    3. Jorge Eduardo Martínez Pérez & José María Abellán Perpiñán & José Luis Pinto Prades, 2007. "El Valor Monetario de la Vida Estadística en España a través de las Preferencias Declaradas," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 183(4), pages 125-144, december.
    4. repec:kap:enreec:v:68:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10640-016-0039-x is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Adamowicz, Wiktor & Dupont, Diane & Krupnick, Alan & Zhang, Jing, 2011. "Valuation of cancer and microbial disease risk reductions in municipal drinking water: An analysis of risk context using multiple valuation methods," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 213-226, March.
    6. Riddel, Mary, 2011. "Uncertainty and measurement error in welfare models for risk changes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 341-354, May.
    7. Leroux, Anke D. & Creedy, John, 2007. "Optimal land conversion and growth with uncertain biodiversity costs," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2-3), pages 542-549, March.
    8. Cocchi, Horacio & Bravo-Ureta, Boris E. & Quiroga, Ricardo E., 2004. "Farm Benefits And Natural Resource Projects In Honduras And El Salvador," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20328, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    contingent valuation; statistical life;

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt12t5g549. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/deucsus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.