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Preservation Values for Visibility Protection at the National Parks (1990)

Paper Number: EE-0405

Document Date: 02/16/1990

Author(s):  Chestnut, Lauraine G.; Rowe, Robert D.

Subject Area(s): Economic Analysis,  Air Quality, Benefit Analysis, Contingent Valuation, Stated Preference Methods, Visibility

Keywords: Economic Analysis,  Air Quality, Benefit Analysis, Contingent Valuation, Stated Preference Methods, Visibility


This report presents the design and results of a study concerning the estimation of preservation values held by the general public for the protection of visibility at national parks from air pollution impacts. The study was designed with the intention of advancing the state-of-the-art in estimation of preservation values and to produce additional empirical results that can be used to provide information to decision-makers who are authorized, if not required, to consider costs and benefits when making regulatory or permitting decisions affecting visual air quality in and around national parks. The objective is to attempt to establish a set of defensible benefit estimates for visibility protection for a variety of national parks with sufficient accuracy, reliability, and variety to be useful in answering broad national policy questions and in addressing specific issues on a case-by-case basis. The report is organized in the following chapters:

  1. Introduction
  2. Estimating Values for Protecting Visibility in National Parks. This provides background information on the concepts of visibility values and issues concerning the use of the contingent valuation method to obtain preservation values for visibility protection at national parks. It also reviews key literature covering previous empirical studies of preservation values for visibility protection at national parks and other related preservation value studies.
  3. Study Design. This describes the design and implementation of a new contingent valuation method (CVM) mail survey used to obtain preservation value estimates for visibility protection in and around national parks of the Southwest, California, and the Southeast. Included in this chapter are discussions of how the various features are designed to minimize, test for, and correct selected potential biases in the CVM instrument.
  4. Results. This presents a detailed summary of results and their implications.
  5. Summary Conclusions and Directions for Future Research. Because the analysis in Chapter 4 is quite detailed and extensive, Chapter 5 presents a simple bulleted summary of the key findings, and discussions of the interpretation and use of the results. It also discusses potential future directions for the use of the CVM method in estimating preservation values for national park resources.
  6. Bibliography.
  7. Sample mail and telephone survey instrument are found in three appendices.

This paper is part of the  Environmental Economics Research Inventory.

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