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Handbook on Contingent Valuation

Edited by Anna Alberini and James R. Kahn

The Handbook on Contingent Valuation is unique in that it focuses on contingent valuation as a method for evaluating environmental change. It examines econometric issues, conceptual underpinnings, implementation issues as well as alternatives to contingent valuation. Anna Alberini and James Kahn have compiled a comprehensive and original reference volume containing invaluable case studies that demonstrate the implementation of contingent valuation in a wide variety of applications. Chapters include those on the history of contingent valuation, a practical guide to its implementation, the use of experimental approaches, an ecological economics perspective on contingent valuation and approaches for developing nations.
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Chapter 12: Non-market Valuation on the Internet

Hale W. Thurston


Hale W. Thurston 12.1 Introduction Will surveys on the internet eventually be used by economists to collect data to conduct unbiased non-market valuation studies? The answer is ‘yes’. Can we do this now? The answer is ‘not quite’. The lure of the internet for data collection is strong: marginal cost of data collection almost nil and the electronic format lends itself to easy data handling. Furthermore, unlike other survey methods, the researcher can enhance the respondent’s understanding of the good in question by showing drawings, photographs, and graphs on the survey page, or provide links to other pages where pertinent information is readily available. The survey can be designed such that the researcher can track the time a respondent spends pondering a question. The researcher can keep the respondent from looking ahead or back in the text, or, if so desired, he can ‘watch’ as the respondent ‘flips’ back a page or two and changes an answer. Virtual interviewers (of different races and gender) can be embedded in the page to read the survey questionnaire to the respondent. The possibilities are endless. The catch? No matter how elaborate the survey, the conclusions drawn by the study are constrained by the survey’s sample. Access to the internet continues to increase. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration estimated that 26.2 per cent of US households had internet access in 1999, up from 18.6 per cent in 1997, and the Pew institute puts the number at approximately 50 per cent by 2000...

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