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Working Paper: The Spatial Extent of Water Quality Benefits in Urban Housing Markets

Paper Number: 2010-02

Document Date: 03/2010

Author(s): Patrick Walsh, J. Walter Milon and David Scrogin

Subject Area(s): Water Pollution; Valuation Methods; Benefit-Cost Analysis

Keywords: hedonic pricing; water quality; pollution abatement; proximity; amenity value

Abstract: Federal efforts are increasingly targeting surface water quality in urban watersheds throughout the U.S., as demonstrated by recent litigation between the EPA and the State of Florida. While the cost of achieving federal standards is ultimately borne by taxpayers, pollution abatement may generate diverse and wide-reaching taxable benefits. This study investigates the effects of enhanced water quality on property prices in urban housing markets. Hybrid specifications of hedonic price models employed in water quality and proximity valuation studies are estimated, and several hypotheses about the implicit value of water quality are tested. Findings indicate i) the value of increased water quality depends upon surface water size and declines rapidly as proximity to the waterfront diminishes, though the mean effect remains significant at several hundred meters; and ii) when housing density is considered, the aggregate benefits derived in the broader housing market may dominate those realized by waterfront homeowners.

Published: Walsh, Patrick J., J. Walter Milon, and David O. Scrogin. 2012. "The Spatial Extent of Water Quality Benefits in Urban Housing Markets," Land Economics 87(4): 628-644.

This paper is part of the Environmental Economics Working Paper Series.

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