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Income inequality and the international transfer of environmental values

Author

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  • Meya, Jasper N.
  • Drupp, Moritz A.
  • Hanley, Nick

Abstract

How the valuation of environmental goods is related to income is a key question for environmental economics, but the role of income inequality is often neglected. We study how income inequality affects the international transfer of the valuation of environmental goods - a practice called value or benefit transfer. Specifically, we apply theory-driven transfer factors to examine whether adjusting for income inequality can reduce errors made in benefit transfer, drawing on a multi-country valuation study on water quality improvement. Our convergent validity analysis shows that income inequality adjustment reduces benefit transfer errors by more than 1.5 percentage points on average across all transfers. The adjustment for inequality is particularly important when income is distributed more unequally at the policy site relative to the study site, yielding reductions in transfer errors of up to 33 percentage points. Our results are relevant for policy appraisal, environmental accounting, and more generally for the role of income inequality in non-market valuation.

Suggested Citation

  • Meya, Jasper N. & Drupp, Moritz A. & Hanley, Nick, 2017. "Income inequality and the international transfer of environmental values," Economics Working Papers 2017-03, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cauewp:201703
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/163521/1/894603361.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kirchhoff, Stefanie & Colby, Bonnie G. & LaFrance, Jeffrey T., 1997. "Evaluating the Performance of Benefit Transfer: An Empirical Inquiry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 75-93, May.
    2. Charles Griffiths & Heather Klemick & Matt Massey & Chris Moore & Steve Newbold & David Simpson & Patrick Walsh & William Wheeler, 2012. "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Valuation of Surface Water Quality Improvements," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 6(1), pages 130-146.
    3. repec:kap:enreec:v:67:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10640-015-9976-z is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Bergstrom, John C. & Taylor, Laura O., 2006. "Using meta-analysis for benefits transfer: Theory and practice," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 351-360, December.
    5. Carl Obst & Lars Hein & Bram Edens, 2016. "National Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Assets and Their Services," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 64(1), pages 1-23, May.
    6. repec:kap:enreec:v:69:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10640-016-0068-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Udo Ebert, 2003. "Environmental Goods and the Distribution of Income," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 25(4), pages 435-459, August.
    8. Baumgärtner, Stefan & Drupp, Moritz A. & Meya, Jasper N. & Munz, Jan M. & Quaas, Martin F., 2016. "Income inequality and willingness to pay for public environmental goods," Economics Working Papers 2016-04, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    9. Richard Ready & Ståle Navrud & Brett Day & Richard Dubourg & Fernando Machado & Susana Mourato & Frank Spanninks & Maria Rodriquez, 2004. "Benefit Transfer in Europe: How Reliable Are Transfers between Countries?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 29(1), pages 67-82, September.
    10. Moritz A. Drupp, 2018. "Limits to Substitution Between Ecosystem Services and Manufactured Goods and Implications for Social Discounting," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 69(1), pages 135-158, January.
    11. Kaul, Sapna & Boyle, Kevin J. & Kuminoff, Nicolai V. & Parmeter, Christopher F. & Pope, Jaren C., 2013. "What can we learn from benefit transfer errors? Evidence from 20 years of research on convergent validity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 90-104.
    12. Jette Jacobsen & Nick Hanley, 2009. "Are There Income Effects on Global Willingness to Pay for Biodiversity Conservation?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 43(2), pages 137-160, June.
    13. I. Bateman & R. Brouwer & S. Ferrini & M. Schaafsma & D. Barton & A. Dubgaard & B. Hasler & S. Hime & I. Liekens & S. Navrud & L. De Nocker & R. Ščeponavičiūtė & D. Semėnienė, 2011. "Making Benefit Transfers Work: Deriving and Testing Principles for Value Transfers for Similar and Dissimilar Sites Using a Case Study of the Non-Market Benefits of Water Quality Improvements Across E," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 50(3), pages 365-387, November.
    14. Thomas Broberg, 2010. "Income Treatment Effects in Contingent Valuation: The Case of the Swedish Predator Policy," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(1), pages 1-17, May.
    15. V. Kerry Smith & George Van Houtven & Subhrendu K. Pattanayak, 2002. "Benefit Transfer via Preference Calibration: "Prudential Algebra" for Policy," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(1), pages 132-152.
    16. Richardson, Leslie & Loomis, John & Kroeger, Timm & Casey, Frank, 2015. "The role of benefit transfer in ecosystem service valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 51-58.
    17. Smith, V. Kerry & Pattanayak, Subhrendu K. & Van Houtven, George L., 2006. "Structural benefit transfer: An example using VSL estimates," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 361-371, December.
    18. Barton, David N., 2002. "The transferability of benefit transfer: contingent valuation of water quality improvements in Costa Rica," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 147-164, August.
    19. Maxim Pinkovskiy & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2009. "Parametric Estimations of the World Distribution of Income," NBER Working Papers 15433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Ready, Richard & Navrud, Stale, 2006. "International benefit transfer: Methods and validity tests," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 429-434, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Drupp, Moritz A. & Meya, Jasper N. & Baumgärtner, Stefan & Quaas, Martin F., 2017. "Economic inequality and the value of nature," Economics Working Papers 2017-08, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    benefit transfer; convergent validity; income; inequality; stated preferences; transfer errors;

    JEL classification:

    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water

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