Valuing Environmental Resources: A Constructive Approach

Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 7 (2):177-197 (1993)
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The use of contingent valuation methods for estimating the economic value of environmental improvements and damages has increased significantly. However, doubts exist regarding the validity of the usual willingness to pay CV methods. In this article, we examine the CV approach in light of recent findings from behavioral decision research regarding the constructive nature of human preferences. We argue that a principal source of problems with conventional CV methods is that they impose unrealistic cognitive demands upon respondents. We propose a new CV approach, based on the value-structuring capabilities of multiattribute utility theory and decision analysis, and discuss its advantages and disadvantages.



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