Benefit-Cost Analysis of Environmental Projects: A Plethora of Systematic Biases
There are many reasons to suspect that benefit-cost analysis applied to environmental policies will result in policy decisions that will reject those environmental policies. The important question, of course, is whether those rejections are based on proper science. The present paper explores sources of bias in the methods used to evaluate environmental policy in the United States, although most of the arguments translate immediately to decision-making in other countries. There are some “big picture” considerations that have gone unrecognized, and there are numerous more minor, yet cumulatively important, technical details that point to potentially large biases against acceptance on benefit-cost grounds of environmental policies that have true marginal benefits greater than true marginal costs, both in net present value terms. It is hoped that the issues raised here will improve future conduct of benefit-cost analyses of environmental policies.
|Date of creation:||2010|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page: http://www.cesifo.de
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Blomquist, Glenn C & Berger, Mark C & Hoehn, John P, 1988. "New Estimates of Quality of Life in Urban Areas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 89-107, March.
- Horowitz, John K. & McConnell, Kenneth E., 2002. "A Review of WTA/WTP Studies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 426-447, November.
- Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
- Charles R. Plott & Kathryn Zeiler, 2007. "Exchange Asymmetries Incorrectly Interpreted as Evidence of Endowment Effect Theory and Prospect Theory?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1449-1466, September.
- Theodore Groves & John Ledyard, 1976.
"Optimal Allocation of Public Goods: A Solution to the 'Free Rider Problem',"
144, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Groves, Theodore & Ledyard, John O, 1977. "Optimal Allocation of Public Goods: A Solution to the "Free Rider" Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(4), pages 783-809, May.
- Flores, Nicholas E. & Graves, Philip E., 2008.
"Optimal public goods provision: implications of endogenizing the labor/leisure choice,"
19923, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Nicholas E. Flores & Philip E. Graves, 2008. "Optimal Public Goods Provision: Implications of Endogenizing the Labor/Leisure Choice," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 84(4), pages 701-707.
- Graves, Philip E., 2009.
"A note on the valuation of collective goods: overlooked input market free riding for non-individually incrementable goods,"
19928, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Graves Philip E, 2009. "A Note on the Valuation of Collective Goods: Overlooked Input Market Free Riding for Non-Individually Incrementable Goods," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-20, February.
- Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-48, December.
- Hahn Robert, 2010. "Designing Smarter Regulation with Improved Benefit-Cost Analysis," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-19, July.
- Hanemann, W Michael, 1991. "Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept: How Much Can They Differ?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 635-47, June.
- Kuminoff, Nicolai V., 2008. "Recovering Preferences from a Dual-Market Locational Equilibrium," 2008 Conference (52nd), February 5-8, 2008, Canberra, Australia 5989, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
- Paul R. Portney, 1994. "The Contingent Valuation Debate: Why Economists Should Care," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 3-17, Fall.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3144. 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: (Julio Saavedra)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.