Asking for Individual or Household Willingness to Pay for Environmental Goods? Implication for aggregate welfare measures
The aggregate welfare measure for a change in the provision of a public good derived from a contingent valuation (CV) survey will be much higher if the same elicited mean willingness to pay (WTP) is added up over individuals rather than households. A trivial fact, however, once respondents are part of multi-person households it becomes almost impossible to elicit an “uncontaminated” WTP measure that with some degree of confidence can be aggregated over one or the other response unit. The literature is mostly silent about which response unit to use in WTP questions and in some CV studies it is even unclear which type has actually been applied. We test for differences between individual and household WTP in a novel, web-administered, split-sample CV survey asking WTP for preserving biodiversity in old-growth coniferous forests in Norway. Two samples are asked both types of questions, but in reverse order, followed by a question with an item battery trying to reveal why WTP may differ. We find in a between-sample test that the WTP respondents state on behalf of their households is not significantly different from their individual WTP. However, within the same sample, household WTP is significantly higher than individual WTP; in particular if respondents are asked to state individual before household WTP. Our results suggest that using individual WTP as the response unit would overestimate aggregate WTP, and thus bias welfare estimates in benefit-cost analyses. Thus, the choice of response format needs to be explicitly and carefully addressed in CV questionnaire design in order to avoid the risk of unprofitable projects passing the benefit-cost test
|Date of creation:||31 Jan 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany|
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
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.:
- Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
- Carson, Richard T & Flores, Nicholas A, 2000.
"Contingent Valuation: Controversies and Evidence,"
University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series
qt75k752s7, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
- Carson, Richard T. & Hanemann, W. Michael, 2006.
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
- Li, Hui & Berrens, Robert P. & Bohara, Alok K. & Jenkins-Smith, Hank C. & Silva, Carol L. & Weimer, David L., 2005. "Testing for Budget Constraint Effects in a National Advisory Referendum Survey on the Kyoto Protocol," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 30(02), August.
- H. Spencer Banzhaf & Dallas Burtraw & David Evans & Alan Krupnick, 2006. "Valuation of Natural Resource Improvements in the Adirondacks," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 82(3), pages 445-464.
- Bateman, Ian J. & Cole, Matthew & Cooper, Philip & Georgiou, Stavros & Hadley, David & Poe, Gregory L., 2004. "On visible choice sets and scope sensitivity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 71-93, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:11469. 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: (Joachim Winter)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.