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Valuing Environmental Changes in the Presence of Risk: A Review and Discussion of Some Empirical Issues


  • W Shaw
  • Mary Riddell
  • Paul Jakus

    (Department of Economics, Utah State University)


The theory of ex-ante welfare measures is well establlished and has been addressed extensively in papers relating to the valuation of environmental resources when environmental variables have a random component. However, there have been many new developments in incorporating risks and uncertainty into economic models, and perhaps more importantly, there seems to be remaining confusion as to how to empirically implement such models. To date, a variety of estimation techniques have been utilized, with varying degrees of success in deriving an ex-ante welfare measure under risk. This manuscript assesses the state of the art by discussing the sources of risk, uncertainty, and error in utility models that incorporate risk. We are most interested in how to incorporate these ideas into empirical models and we examine how econometric estimation methods can best be used to obtain ex-ante welfare measures. We also present the current thinking on endogenous versus exogenous risks as well as subjective versus “expert” risk measures, and discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages likely to be encountered when using subjective-based risk estimates in empirical applications based on alternatives to the expected utility models.

Suggested Citation

  • W Shaw & Mary Riddell & Paul Jakus, 2005. "Valuing Environmental Changes in the Presence of Risk: A Review and Discussion of Some Empirical Issues," Working Papers 2005-02, Utah State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:usu:wpaper:2005-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Heien, Dale & Durham, Cathy, 1991. "A Test of the Habit Formation Hypothesis Using Household Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(2), pages 189-199, May.
    2. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, March.
    3. Richards, Timothy J. & Kagan, Albert & Gao, Xiaoming, 1997. "Factors Influencing Changes In Potato And Potato Substitute Demand," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 26(1), April.
    4. John L. Park & Rodney B. Holcomb & Kellie Curry Raper & Oral Capps, 1996. "A Demand Systems Analysis of Food Commodities by U.S. Households Segmented by Income," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(2), pages 290-300.
    5. J. Scott Shonkwiler & Steven T. Yen, 1999. "Two-Step Estimation of a Censored System of Equations," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(4), pages 972-982.
    6. Heien, Dale & Wessells, Cathy Roheim, 1990. "Demand Systems Estimation with Microdata: A Censored Regression Approach," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(3), pages 365-371, July.
    7. Holcomb, Rodney B. & Park, John L. & Capps, Oral, Jr., 1995. "Revisiting Engel'S Law: Examining Expenditure Patterns For Food At Home And Away From Home," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 26(2), September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jindapon, Paan & Shaw, W. Douglass, 2008. "Option price without expected utility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 408-410, September.
    2. Shaikh, Sabina L. & Sun, Lili & Cornelis van Kooten, G., 2007. "Treating respondent uncertainty in contingent valuation: A comparison of empirical treatments," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 115-125, April.
    3. Nguyen, To N. & Shaw, W. Douglass & Woodward, Richard T. & Paterson, Robert & Boyle, Kevin, 2007. "An empirical study of option prices for hunting permits," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2-3), pages 476-484, August.

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