Equity and Aggregation in Environmental Valuation
Environmental valuation studies aim at the assessment of the social benefits or the social costs caused by some change in environmental quality (in the broadest sense). The most popular field of application of environmental valuation studies is project appraisal where the benefits arising from some environmental project (measured in terms of people's willingness to pay for that project) are assessed and confronted with the costs of the project or with the benefits from some alternative project if a choice has to be made between different projects. A closer look at the results of empirical valuation studies shows that in many surveys a negative correlation between the number auf household members and the willingness to pay (WTP) stated by a household for a project can be observed. These results are rather puzzling because in larger households more people are going to benefit from an environmental improvement than in small households. A plausible explanation for these results is that household budgets are tighter for large households than for smaller households with the same household income. Therefore, large households must state a smaller WTP for a project than smaller households with the same income and the same preferences. This might have consequences for the allocation of public funds in all cases where the realization of a specific environmental project depends on the absolute value of the aggregate social benefits it generates. In order to calculate the social benefits typically the WTPs of the different households affected by that project are added up. In this aggregation process the members of larger households have a lower weight and, therefore, their WTP has a smaller impact on the decision if a certain project is realized or not. The reason for this violation of the principle of horizontal equity is that for the computation of the social benefits not individual but household WTPs are aggregated. In this paper we suggest to use household equivalence scales for the evaluation of WTP data in order to reduce this discrimination of the members of large families. We demonstrate the effects of equivalence scales on the results of environmental valuation surveys using an empirical study carried out in Eastern Germany.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: D-70593 Stuttgart|
Web page: http://www.uni-hohenheim.de/institution/institut-fuer-economics-11
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.:
- Timothy Park & John B. Loomis & Michael Creel, 1991. "Confidence Intervals for Evaluating Benefits Estimates from Dichotomous Choice Contingent Valuation Studies," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 67(1), pages 64-73.
- Kapteyn, Arie, 1994.
"The Measurement of Household Cost Functions: Revealed Preference versus Subjective Measures,"
Journal of Population Economics,
Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 333-50, November.
- Kapteyn, A.J., 1994. "The measurement of household cost functions : Revealed preference versus subjective measures," Discussion Paper 1994-3, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Peter A. Diamond & Jerry A. Hausman, 1994. "Contingent Valuation: Is Some Number Better than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 45-64, Fall.
- Pollak, Robert A & Wales, Terence J, 1979. "Welfare Comparisons and Equivalence Scales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 216-21, May.
- Kapteyn, Arie & Van Praag, Bernard, 1978. "A new approach to the construction of family equivalence scales," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 313-335, May.
- Michael Ahlheim & Oliver Frör & Ulrike Lehr & Gerhard Wagenhals & Ursula Wolf, 2004. "Contingent Valuation of Mining Land Reclamation in East Germany," Diskussionspapiere aus dem Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre der Universität Hohenheim 245/2004, Department of Economics, University of Hohenheim, Germany.
- Catherine M. Chambers & Paul E. Chambers & John C. Whitehead, .
"Contingent Valuation of Quasi-Public Goods: Validity, Reliability, and Application to Valuing a Historic Site,"
9614, East Carolina University, Department of Economics.
- Catherine M. Chambers & Paul E. Chambers & John C. Whitehead, 1998. "Contingent Valuation of Quasi-Public Goods: Validity, Reliability, and Application To Valuing a Historic Site," Public Finance Review, , vol. 26(2), pages 137-154, March.
- Muellbauer, John, 1974. "Household composition, Engel curves and welfare comparisons between households : A duality approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 103-122, August.
- Biewen, Martin, 2000. "Income Inequality in Germany during the 1980s and 1990s," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(1), pages 1-19, March.
- Muellbauer, John, 1977. "Testing the Barten Model of Household Composition Effects and the Cost of Children," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(347), pages 460-87, September.
- Ahlheim, Michael, 1998. "Contingent valuation and the budget constraint," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 205-211, November.
- Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, 1.
- Ahlheim, Michael & Fror, Oliver, 2003. "Valuing the non-market production of agriculture," German Journal of Agricultural Economics, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin, Department for Agricultural Economics, vol. 52(8).
- Muellbauer, John, 1980. "The Estimation of the Prais-Houthakker Model of Equivalence Scales," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 153-76, January.
- Charlier, Erwin, 2002. "Equivalence Scales in an Intertemporal Setting with an Application to the Former West Germany," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(1), pages 99-126, March.
- Diamond, Peter, 1996.
"Testing the Internal Consistency of Contingent Valuation Surveys,"
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management,
Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 337-347, May.
- Diamond, P., 1993. "Testing the Internal Consistency of Contingent Valuation Surveys," Working papers 93-1, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Krinsky, Itzhak & Robb, A Leslie, 1986. "On Approximating the Statistical Properties of Elasticities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 715-19, November.
- Lewbel, Arthur, 1989. "Household equivalence scales and welfare comparisons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 377-391, August.
- Carson, Richard T. & Hanemann, W. Michael, 2006. "Contingent Valuation," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 17, pages 821-936 Elsevier.
- Whittington, Dale & Smith, V. Kerry & Okorafor, Apia & Okore, Augustine & Liu, Jin Long & McPhail, Alexander, 1992. "Giving respondents time to think in contingent valuation studies: A developing country application," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 205-225, May.
- Melenberg, B. & van Soest, A.H.O., 1995. "Semiparametric estimation of equivalence scales using subjective information," Discussion Paper 1995-71, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Bockstael, Nancy E. & Freeman III, A. Myrick, 2006. "Welfare Theory and Valuation," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 12, pages 517-570 Elsevier.
- Browning, Martin, 1992. "Children and Household Economic Behavior," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1434-75, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hoh:hohdip:295. 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: (Ulrike Berberich)The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Ulrike Berberich to update the entry or send us the correct email address
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.