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Environmental Economics Seminar: Developing Contemporary Guidelines for Stated-Preference Valuation

Date and Time

Thursday 04/28/2016 5:30PM to 7:00PM EDT
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Room 6124, William Jefferson Clinton West Building
1301 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20001


Contact: Carl Pasurka, 202-566-2275

Presenter: Robert J. Johnston (Department of Economics, Clark University)

Kevin Boyle (Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech)

Wiktor (Vic) Adamowicz (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta)

Presenting – Kevin Boyle

Description: Stated-preference methods are the only means to estimate values for a wide range of public goods, environmental services, human health, and other outcomes for which relevant revealed preference data are not available. Two decades ago, the influential NOAA Blue Ribbon Panel report on Contingent Valuation catalyzed a research agenda that fundamentally influenced the design and conduct of stated-preference studies. The Panel focused on the use of contingent valuation to estimate passive-use values for litigation in the United States, and proposed what they referred to as "a fairly complete set of guidelines compliance with which would define an ideal CV survey." Yet stated-preference research has advanced since the NOAA Panel, and this evolving research affects the applicability of the NOAA Panel's guidelines. Some of the Panel's original guidelines have proved germane and fundamental (e.g., the use of referendum voting to frame valuation questions). Other concerns, such as the ability to demonstrate scope, have been largely established in the literature. Still other guidelines are now subject to question. An example is the use of personal interviews, a guideline that was never widely adopted and has since been challenged by the emergence of internet survey methods. Further, choice experiments and a variety of other now-common techniques were given little or no consideration by the Panel. Despite this evolution of research and practice, many government agencies and other groups continue to use the NOAA Panel guidelines as the primary means to evaluate all types of stated-preference studies, including methods that did not exist at the time of the Panel and applications for which the Panel was silent. Among the consequences of this lack of updated guidance is variation in the quality and practice of stated-preference studies used to inform worldwide decision-making, and differing expectations and acceptance of these studies across public and private organizations. This discussion will report progress and solicit feedback on an article-in-progress that proposes best practice guidelines for stated-preference studies used to inform decision making.