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Problems in Valuing the Benefits of Biodiversity Protection

  • Nick Hanley
  • Clive Spash
  • Lorna Walker

This paper considers two problems in valuing the benefits of biodiversity protection. These are, firstly, that preferences for biodiversity protection may be lexicographic rather than utilitarian. The more individuals for whom this is true, the less is cost-benefit analysis validated as a means of decision making for biodiversity protection, since lexicographic preferences are incompatible with the Kaldor-Hicks Compensation Test. Secondly, people may be poorly informed about the meaning of biodiversity, complicating the use of contingent valuation as a means of measuring preservation benefits. This paper first discusses the meaning of biodiversity, and trends in diversity over time. We offer some empirical evidence with regard to lexicographic preferences; consider the implications of having poorly-informed consumers; and then report the results of a contingent valuation study of biodiversity protection with varying levels of information. We find that willingness to pay for biodiversity protection increases with the level of information provided. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

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Paper provided by University of Stirling, Division of Economics in its series Working Papers Series with number 94/8.

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Date of creation: Apr 1994
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Handle: RePEc:stl:stlewp:94/8
Contact details of provider: Postal: Division of Economics, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA
Phone: +44 (0)1786 467473
Fax: +44 (0)1786 467469
Web page: http://www.econ.stir.ac.uk/

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  1. Hanley, Nick & Craig, Stephen, 1991. "Wilderness development decisions and the Krutilla-Fisher model: The case of Scotland's 'flow country'," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 145-164, November.
  2. Spash, Clive L. & Hanley, N, 1994. "Preferences, information and biodiversity preservation," MPRA Paper 38351, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Hanley, Nick, 1990. "The Economics of Nitrate Pollution," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 17(2), pages 129-51.
  4. 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.
  5. Todd Sandler, 1993. "Tropical Deforestation: Markets and Market Failures," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 69(3), pages 225-233.
  6. Harrison, Glenn W., 1992. "Valuing public goods with the contingent valuation method: A critique of kahneman and knetsch," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 248-257, November.
  7. 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.
  8. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L., 1992. "Valuing public goods: The purchase of moral satisfaction," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 57-70, January.
  9. Common, Mick & Perrings, Charles, 1992. "Towards an ecological economics of sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 7-34, July.
  10. Nick Hanley, 1992. "Are there environmental limits to cost benefit analysis?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(1), pages 33-59, January.
  11. Edwards, Steven F., 1988. "Option prices for groundwater protection," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 475-487, December.
  12. Solow Andrew & Polasky Stephen & Broadus James, 1993. "On the Measurement of Biological Diversity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 60-68, January.
  13. Hanemann, W Michael, 1991. "Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept: How Much Can They Differ?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 635-47, June.
  14. Harris, Charles C. & Driver, B. L. & McLaughlin, William J., 1989. "Improving the contingent valuation method: A psychological perspective," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 213-229, November.
  15. Nick Hanley & Alistair Munro, . "The Effects of Information in Contingent Markets for Enviromental Goods," Working Papers Series e94/5, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  16. Spash, Clive L. & Hanley, Nick, 1994. "Discussion Paper in Ecological Economics," Discussion Papers in Ecological Economics 140531, University of Stirling, Department of Economics.
  17. V. Kerry Smith, 1993. "Nonmarket Valuation of Environmental Resources: An Interpretive Appraisal," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-26.
  18. Thomas H. Stevens & Jaime Echeverria & Ronald J. Glass & Tim Hager & Thomas A. More, 1991. "Measuring the Existence Value of Wildlife: What Do CVM Estimates Really Show?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 67(4), pages 390-400.
  19. Harris, Charles C. & Brown, Greg, 1992. "Gain, loss and personal responsibility: The role of motivation in resource valuation decision-making," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 73-92, March.
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