Conceptual and Statistical Issues in Contingent Valuation

Estimating the Value of Altered Visibility in the Grand Canyon

by Daniel S. Levy, James K. Hammitt, Naihua Duan, Theodore Downes-Le Guin, David B. Friedman


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This report addresses a number of economic, legal, survey/methodological, and statistical issues as they arose in two contingent valuation studies used to estimate the value of improvements in visibility in the Grand Canyon, where emissions from a coal-fired electric generating plant were believed to contribute to winter haze. Contingent valuation is a method of measuring the economic value of environmental and other public goods. Use and nonuse economic values, willingness to pay for an improvement or to avoid degradation (or willingness to accept compensation instead), property rights, and various conceptual and statistical issues are explored. The report is based on a comment filed with the Environmental Protection Agency's Public Docket and should be of interest to those involved in the regulatory debate and others who measure the economic value of environmental and other public goods.

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