A Meta-Analysis of Contingent Valuation Studies in Coastal and Near-Shore Marine Ecosystems
The ecosystem services provided by coastal and near-shore marine systems contribute significantly to human welfare. However, studies that document values of these services are widely scattered in the peer-reviewed literature. We collected 39 contingent valuation papers with 120 observations to conduct the first meta-analysis of the ecosystem service values provided by the coastal and near-shore marine systems. Our results show that over ¾ of the variation in Willingness to Pay (WTP) for coastal ecosystem services could be explained by variables in commodity, methodology, and study quality. We also used the meta-regression model to predict out-of-sample WTPs and the benefit transfer result showed that the overall median transfer error was 57%. Based on such results, one could argue that such meta-analyses can provide useful guidance regarding at least the general magnitudes of welfare effects. However, we also caution against the application of such a result in a broader context of benefit transfer as it is derived from a limited amount of data, and it may suffer from some degree of measurement error, generalization error, and publication selection error. Lastly, we discuss possible ways of minimizing these errors.
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