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Can Property Values Capture Changes in Environmental Health Risks? Evidence from a Stated Preference Study in Italy and the UK

  • Dennis Guignet

    (National Center for Environmental Economics US Environmental Protection Agency)

  • Anna Alberini

    (Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics University of Maryland, and Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Venice)

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    Hedonic property value models are often used to place a value on localized amenities and disamenities. In practice, however, results may be affected by (i) omitted variable bias and (ii) whether homebuyers and sellers are aware of, and respond to, the assumed environmental measure. In this paper we undertake an alternative stated preference (SP) approach that eliminates the potential for unobserved confounders and where the measure of environmental quality is explicitly presented to respondents. We examine how homeowners in the United Kingdom and Italy value mortality risk reductions by asking them to choose among hypothetical variants of their home that differ in terms of mortality risks from air pollution and price. To our knowledge this is the first stated preference study examining respondents’ willingness to pay for properties using a quantitative and clearly specified measure of health risks. We find that Italian homeowners hold a value of a statistical life (VSL) of about €6.4 million, but UK homeowners tend to hold a much lower VSL (€2.1 million). This may be due to the fact that respondents in the UK do not perceive air pollution where they live to be as threatening, and actually live in cities with relatively low air pollution levels. Exploiting part of our experimental design, we find that Italian homeowners value a reduction in the risk of dying from cancer more than from other causes, but UK respondents do not hold such a premium. We also find that those who face higher baseline risks, due to higher air pollution levels where they live, hold a higher VSL, especially in the UK. In both countries, the VSL is twice as large among individuals who perceive air pollution where they live as relatively high.

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    Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2013.67.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2013.67
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    1. Anna Alberini & Aline Chiabai, 2006. "Urban Environmental Health and Sensitive Populations: How Much Are the Italians Willing to Pay to Reduce Their Risks?," ERSA conference papers ersa06p293, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Ted Gayer & James T. Hamilton & W. Kip Viscusi, 2002. "The Market Value of Reducing Cancer Risk: Hedonic Housing Prices with Changing Information," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 266-289, October.
    3. Anna Alberini & Stefania Tonin & Margherita Turvani & Aline Chiabai, 2007. "Paying for permanence: Public preferences for contaminated site cleanup," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 155-178, April.
    4. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
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    6. Anna Alberini & Milan Šcasný, 2010. "Context and the VSL: Evidence from a Stated Preference Study in Italy and the Czech Republic," Working Papers 2010.66, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    7. Thomas J. Kniesner & W. Kip Viscusi & Christopher Woock & James P. Ziliak, 2012. "The Value of a Statistical Life: Evidence from Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 74-87, February.
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    11. Krupnick, Alan, et al, 2002. " Age, Health and the Willingness to Pay for Mortality Risk Reductions: A Contingent Valuation Survey of Ontario Residents," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 161-86, March.
    12. 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.
    13. Thomas Kniesner & W. Viscusi & James Ziliak, 2010. "Policy relevant heterogeneity in the value of statistical life: New evidence from panel data quantile regressions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 15-31, February.
    14. Olivier Chanel & Stephane Luchini, 2008. "Monetary Values for Air Pollution Risk of Death: A Contingent Valuation Survey," Working Papers halshs-00272776, HAL.
    15. Beat Hintermann & Anna Alberini & Anil Markandya, 2010. "Estimating the value of safety with labour market data: are the results trustworthy?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(9), pages 1085-1100.
    16. John C. Whitehead & Subhrendu K. Pattanayak & George L. Van Houtven & Brett R. Gelso, 2005. "Combining Revealed and Stated Preference Data to Estimate the Nonmarket Value of Ecological Services: An Assessment of the State of the Science," Working Papers 05-19, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University, revised 2007.
    17. Takahiro Tsuge & Atsuo Kishimoto & Kenji Takeuchi, 2005. "A Choice Experiment Approach to the Valuation of Mortality," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 73-95, July.
    18. Robert A. Simons & Kimberly Winson-Geideman, 2005. "Determining Market Perceptions on Contamination of Residential Property Buyers using Contingent Valuation Surveys," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 27(2), pages 193-220.
    19. Dietrich Earnhart, 2001. "Combining Revealed and Stated Preference Methods to Value Environmental Amenities at Residential Locations," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(1), pages 12-29.
    20. Portney, Paul R., 1981. "Housing prices, health effects, and valuing reductions in risk of death," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 72-78, March.
    21. George Houtven & Melonie Sullivan & Chris Dockins, 2008. "Cancer premiums and latency effects: A risk tradeoff approach for valuing reductions in fatal cancer risks," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 179-199, April.
    22. Sudip Chattopadhyay, 1999. "Estimating the Demand for Air Quality: New Evidence Based on the Chicago Housing Market," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 75(1), pages 22-38.
    23. Earnhart, Dietrich, 2002. "Combining Revealed and Stated Data to Examine Housing Decisions Using Discrete Choice Analysis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 143-169, January.
    24. Robin R. Jenkins & Nicole Owens & Lanelle Bembenek Wiggins, 2001. "Valuing Reduced Risks To Children: The Case Of Bicycle Safety Helmets," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 19(4), pages 397-408, October.
    25. Guignet, Dennis, 2012. "The impacts of pollution and exposure pathways on home values: A stated preference analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 53-63.
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