The International Handbook on Non-Market Environmental Valuation
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The International Handbook on Non-Market Environmental Valuation

Edited by Jeff Bennett

Non-market environmental valuation (NMEV) is undergoing a period of increased growth in both application and development as a result of increasing recognition of the role of economics in environmental policy issues. Against this backdrop, The International Handbook on Non-Market Environmental Valuation brings together world leaders in the field to advance the development and application of NMEV as a tool for policy-making.
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Chapter 17: Evaluating Benefit Transfer for Canadian Water Quality Improvements Using US/Canada Metadata: An Application of International Meta-analysis

Paul J. Thomassin and Robert J. Johnston


Paul J. Thomassin and Robert J. Johnston Benefit transfer is often unavoidable in contemporary policy analysis. Even in the absence of comprehensive cost–benefit analysis, policy analysts are increasingly asked to incorporate estimates of non-market value into policy evaluations. Benefit transfer becomes particularly relevant, however, when government policies mandate that benefits and costs be considered in management plans; for example river basin management in the UK (Hanley et al., 2006a, 2006b) or as required by Executive Orders 12866, 13258 and 13422 for major US Government rules (Griffiths and Wheeler, 2005). In many cases, policy analysts do not have the time or resources necessary to undertake primary valuation studies of policy impacts, and in some cases are prevented from doing so by requirements imposed by statutes such as the Paperwork Reduction Act in the USA (Griffiths and Wheeler, 2005; Iovanna and Griffiths, 2006; Johnston and Rosenberger, 2010). As a result, policy analysts must rely on other means – namely, benefit transfer – to provide estimates. Early benefit transfers almost exclusively applied unit value transfers, in which unadjusted welfare estimates from non-market research at a ‘study site’ were used to approximate benefits at a ‘policy site.’ Loomis (1992) is widely credited with initiating a movement away from these simple unit value transfers and towards benefit function transfer (BFTs), with benefit functions drawn from individual primary studies in the literature. The consensus of the contemporary literature is that benefit function transfers usually outperform unit value transfers (Johnston and Rosenberger, 2010; Rosenberger and Stanley, 2006), although...

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