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Comparative Environmental Economic Assessment

Edited by Raymond J.G.M. Florax, Peter Nijkamp and Kenneth G. Willis

Over the last decade, economists have increasingly recognized the role of meta-analysis and value transfer in synthesizing knowledge and efficiently exploiting the existing pool of knowledge. Comparative Environmental Economic Assessment explores the potential significance of using these techniques, particularly in environmental economics. Both meta-analysis and value transfer constitute major research tools which efficiently use knowledge previously acquired from other studies. The book focuses on the potential role and usefulness of these tools in environmental economic research, and goes on to address their validity, relevance and applicability
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Chapter 16: Meta-analysis and benefit transfer: synergy, lessons and research agendas

Raymond J.G.M. Florax, Peter Nijkamp and Kenneth G. Willis


16. Meta-analysis and benefit transfer: synergy, lessons and research agendas Raymond J.G.M. Florax, Peter Nijkamp, Kenneth G. Willis 1 INTRODUCTION In the context of environmental economics, and more specifically environmental valuation, meta-analysis attempts to assess environmental values by investigating the relationship between benefit estimates (such as willingness-to-pay estimates), the features or attributes of the valued goods, and the framing and assumptions of the models used to estimate environmental values. Apart from the mere purpose of synthesizing information, or assessing the extent to which estimated values have a population effect size in common, an explicit aim of meta-analysis could also be the application of past results to future resource policy decisions. Meta-analysis thus entails the systematic application of qualitative and (parametric or nonparametric) statistical methods to assess common features and variations across a wide range of prior studies. ‘Benefit transfer’ or ‘value transfer’,1 in contrast, generally refers to the process by which a value, or a demand function, estimated for one environmental attribute or group of attributes at a specific site, is applied to assess the benefits that can be attached to a similar attribute or set of attributes at another site elsewhere. Meta-analysis and value transfer techniques are both involved in comparing processes and estimates of outcomes across spatial areas and between projects, programmes and policies. An early application of benefit transfer was the ‘unit day value’ method, widely used by the US Forest Service and the US Water Resources Council...

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