Updating Prior Methods for Non-Market Valuation A Bayesian Approach to Combining Disparate Sources of Environmental Values

EPA Grant Number: R825310
Title: Updating Prior Methods for Non-Market Valuation A Bayesian Approach to Combining Disparate Sources of Environmental Values
Investigators: Herriges, Joseph A. , Kling, Catherine L.
Institution: Iowa State University
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: October 1, 1996 through September 30, 1998
Project Amount: $210,199
RFA: Decision-Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy (1996) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice


Despite the proliferation of contingent valuation and travel cost studies in recent years, little attention has been given to combining these two sources of data in estimating environmental values. Likewise, although there has been a notable increase in interest in the area of benefits transfer (applying the value of a studied resource to a unstudied resource), there remains room for additional rigor and more systematic methods in the implementation of these value transfers.

In the research proposed here, a Bayesian framework will be used to provide a systematic approach to integrating and interpreting data from disparate sources. For both the data integration and benefits transfer problems, the Bayesian paradigm provides a natural and internally consistent way of framing the problem and for developing methodological solutions. The framework will be applied to the combination of contingent valuation and travel cost data, the combination of travel cost and contingent behavior data, and finally, to the transfer of travel cost or contingent valuation data from a set of studied sites to an unstudied policy site (i.e., for the purposes of benefits transfer). Specifically, the objectives of this proposed research are: (1) to develop and test Bayesian procedures for combining disparate sources of nonmarket valuations; (2) to develop and test Bayesian procedures for benefits transfer; and (3) to estimate the value of wetland restoration. This work will lay the foundation for applying Bayesian techniques to nonmarket valuation.

In addition to methodological developments, this project will provide benefit estimates for an important and relatively little studied resource wetlands preservation in the Midwest. In recent years in Iowa, there has been a steady increase in interest in activities related to land use and the resource management on floodplains. Public programs such as the Wetland Reserve and Emergency Wetland Reserve, efforts of private conservation organizations, such as Ducks Unlimited, and the reality of continued flooding of the magnitude that occurred in 1993 have provided the motivation to investigate alternative land use and management of floodplains that were wetlands in their natural state.

The valuation of wetlands in Iowa, both current and proposed, will provide much needed information to a variety of state and federal agencies, conservation groups, and policy analysts for the state legislature. In particular, one targeted group is the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economics Research Service, members of whom have indicated their agency's need for values of wetland ecosystems in the Midwest.

In addition, to the extent that the results of the wetlands valuation work can be transferred to other wetland sites in the United States, any agencies or groups with interests in the value of wetlands nationally would benefit from the results of this study. Furthermore, the methodology to employ the Bayesian paradigm to transfer these benefits would be readily available to policy analysts for the purpose of performing their own value transfers.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 10 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 3 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

cost benefit, valuation, willingness to pay, RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Economics, Ecology and Ecosystems, decision-making, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, contingent valuation, ecosystem valuation, policy analysis, public resources, social psychology, benefits transfer, midwest, Bayesian approach, decision analysis, valuing environmental quality, environmental assets, conservation, economic incentives, environmental values, non-market valuation, preference formation, standards of value, cost benefit, cost/benefit analysis, environmental policy, aquatic ecosystems, psychological attitudes, public values, public policy, willingness to pay, wetlands preservation, cost effectiveness

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1997 Progress Report
  • Final Report