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Non-market valuation of the coastal environment - uniting political aims, ecological and economic knowledge



The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires coastal water quality to be classified according to ecological indicators. In this paper, contingent valuation is used to estimate the value of improving the water quality status according to this classification, investigating if this type of holistic political-ecological measure can be related to and valued in monetary terms by the general public. A web-based survey was conducted in two study areas on the Swedish East and West coast. The paper focuses on eutrophication effects, such as bad water clarity, a decrease of bladder wrack stands and algae mats. These water quality elements affect recreational use of coastal areas. Relating to recreational use, two other environmental attributes are addressed – algae blooms and protection of marine areas in terms of e.g. restrictions for boat traffic. The restrictions scenario is also holistic in terms of several imposed restrictions, as well as tightly linked with existing policy. Conducting valuation studies based on a policy-determined measure is beneficial for decisionmakers but also for research e.g. in terms of data availability. It is concluded that these politically defined measures seem to work well as a basis for economic valuation. The respondents are in general both able to understand and to put a monetary value to the measures. This is an important first step, paving the ground for further studies. The monthly mean household WTP between the years 2010 – 2029 ranges from 61 to 108 SEK for improved water quality, from 54 to 84 SEK for less algae blooms and from 32 to 50 SEK for less noise and littering. Regarding noise and littering in archipelago areas in Northern Europe, this is to our knowledge the first WTP estimate that has been presented. The respondents from the East coast region express relatively high mean WTP values compared to the respondents on the West coast for all scenarios. The differences in mean WTP values between the study areas, which are reflected in the transfer errors, indicate that even though the coasts are similar in terms of use and environmental problems, and the respondents have many similar characteristics, a point estimate benefit transfer between the two coasts is not recommended unless high transfer errors are acceptable. WTP is affected by gender, membership of an NGO, whether or not the respondent has children, whether or not the respondent has a foreign background, frequency of visiting the area and whether or not the respondent uses a boat with an engine effect of more than 10 hp while visiting the area.

Suggested Citation

  • Östberg, Katarina & Hasselström, Linus & Håkansson, Cecilia, 2010. "Non-market valuation of the coastal environment - uniting political aims, ecological and economic knowledge," CERE Working Papers 2010:10, CERE - the Center for Environmental and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:slucer:2010_010

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cecilia Håkansson, 2008. "A new valuation question: analysis of and insights from interval open-ended data in contingent valuation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 39(2), pages 175-188, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kinell, Gerda & Söderqvist, Tore & Elmgren, Ragnar & Walve, Jacob & Franzén, Frida, 2012. "Cost-Benefit Analysis in a Framework of Stakeholder Involvement and Integrated Coastal Zone Modeling," CERE Working Papers 2012:1, CERE - the Center for Environmental and Resource Economics.

    More about this item


    non-market valuation; choice experiments; water framework directive;

    JEL classification:

    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects

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