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An Experiment in Determining Willingness to Pay for National Water Quality Improvements (1981)

Paper Number: EE-0011

Document Date: 06/01/1981

Author(s):  Mitchell, Robert Cameron; Carson, Richard T.

Subject Area(s):

Economic Analysis, Water Quality, Stated Preference, Contingent Valuation, Survey Methods

Keywords:  Economic Analysis, Water Quality, Stated Preference, Contingent Valuation, Survey Methods

Abstract: 

The purpose of this research is to develop a methodology for using direct interview survey techniques to estimate national benefits from freshwater water quality improvements. In particular, this study has developed a method for estimating the intrinsic benefits of water quality, a class of benefits which include option, existence, and bequest benefits among others. The method also measures consumer recreational benefits, but does not estimate industrial, commercial or drinking water benefits.

The report is divided into the following chapters: 

1. The Willingness to Pay Method, Consumer Surplus and Water Quality Benefits
2. The Macro Approach to Willingness to Pay Studies
3. Research Procedures
4. Control for Biases
5. Experimental Benefits Estimates: Overall, Use and Intrinsic
6. Conclusion and Recommendations

These are followed by the following appendices: 

I. RFF Research Instrument
II. The Water Quality Ladder by William J. Vaughan
III. Derivation of Public Goods Expenditures
IV. Preceding Questionnaire on Environmental and Energy Issues (partially available online - ends with pg 15)
V. Sampling Plan for the RFF Survey (not available online)
VI. Cases Eliminated from Analysis (not available online)
VII. Construction of ENVINDEX (not available online)
VIII. A New Constructive Test for Heteroskedasticity by Richard T. Carson and William J. Vaughan (not available online)

This paper is part of the  Environmental Economics Research Inventory.

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  • An Experiment in Determining Willingness to Pay for National Water Quality Improvements (1981) (PDF)(277 pp, 2 MB, 06/01/1981, EE-0111)
    The purpose of this research is to develop a methodology for using direct interview survey techniques to estimate national benefits from freshwater water quality improvements. In particular, this study has developed a method for estimating the intrinsic benefits of water quality, a class of benefits which include option, existence, and bequest benefits among others. The method also measures consumer recreational benefits, but does not estimate industrial, commercial or drinking water benefits.