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Contingent Valuation Studies in the Arts and Culture: An Annotated Bibliography


  • Douglas Noonan


A prominent branch of stated preference estimation is known as contingent valuation methodology (CVM). Essentially, contingent valuation methodology involves asking a sample of individuals how much they would be willing to pay for a marginal change in the quantity of a public good provided. This measurement approach comes from a well-developed literature among environmental economists, who frequently use CVM to estimate the value of environmental quality. Extensive application of the method in the field over the past several decades has led to the development of numerous guidelines for appropriate use of CVM. A blue-ribbon panel, headed by Nobel laureates Ken Arrow and Robert Solow, summarized this "state of the art" of CVM research in their 1993 "Report of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Panel on Contingent Valuation." The NOAA report points out the risks in CVM surveys, identifies important techniques for avoiding those pitfalls, and ultimately concludes that proper CVM surveys can contribute important information about valuation. Is a tool from the environmental arena appropriate for the cultural arena? There are many important similarities between environmental and cultural goods. Environmental amenities are often characterized by providing recreational or "use" values, but many important environmental public goods have "non-use" values. These values include "existence value" (e.g. many people appreciate the existence of the Grand Canyon, even if they never have or never intend to visit it), "altruistic value" (i.e. the value derived from having others use the good), "option value" (i.e. the value of having the option to use something at a later date), "bequest value" (i.e. the value derived from providing the good for others in the future), or other "intrinsic values" for the good that people may have. Each of these types of esoteric values play prominent roles in the cultural arena as well. CVM has been developed precisely to measure these non-use values, and extending its application to cultural goods and services appears to be a natural fit.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Noonan, 2003. "Contingent Valuation Studies in the Arts and Culture: An Annotated Bibliography," Working Papers 0304, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0304

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    Cited by:

    1. Eva Vicente & Pablo de Frutos, 2011. "Application of the travel cost method to estimate the economic value of cultural goods: Blockbuster art exhibitions," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 196(1), pages 37-63, january.
    2. Halkos, George, 2012. "The use of contingent valuation in assessing marine and coastal ecosystems’ water quality: A review," MPRA Paper 42183, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Isabel Mendes, 2013. "Mining Rehabilitation Planning, Mining Heritage Tourism, Benefits and Contingent Valuation," Working Papers wp032013, Socius, Socio-Economics Research Centre at the School of Economics and Management (ISEG) of the Technical University of Lisbon.


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