Edited by Anna Alberini and James R. Kahn
Chapter 13: Use of Contingent Values of Wildlife and Habitat Preservation in Policy and Benefit–Cost Analyses
13 Use of contingent values of wildlife and habitat preservation in policy and beneﬁt–cost analyses John B. Loomis 13.1 Introduction A common question asked of contingent valuation practioners is, ‘Do real decision makers ever use the results of such studies?’ This is a tough question to answer unequivocally, and one asked of methods in many ﬁelds ranging urban traﬃc simulation to epidemiological studies. Given that policy decisions are (and should be) aﬀected by many concerns besides economic eﬃciency (for example, distributional equity, sustainability), it is rare to be able to point to any one technique in the policy process and say it was the deﬁnitive factor. Nonetheless, the increased attention that contingent valuation surveys received after the Exxon Valdez oil spill by industry, their lawyers and mainstream economists suggests that contingent valuation must matter. Why else would Senator Slade Gorton of Washington (a prodam advocate) oﬃcially request that the US Army Corps of Engineers cancel its contingent valuation survey on the recreation beneﬁts and passive use values of removing dams on the Snake River to restore salmon? However, some utility companies have begun to use contingent behavior surveys when they expect it to promote their agenda. For example, large power companies such as Idaho Power have commissioned valuation surveys to provide some balance to the unconstrained demands of state agencies for greater instream ﬂows. Contingent valuation can also have a more profound role in changing the nature of the policy debates....
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