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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 13: Use of Contingent Values of Wildlife and Habitat Preservation in Policy and Benefit–Cost Analyses

John B. Loomis


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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