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Improved Valuation of Ecological Benefits Associated with Aquatic Living Resources: Development and Testing of Indicator-Based Stated Preference Valuation and Transfer

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Objective:
The proposed work will develop and test Indicator-Based Stated Preference Valuation for aquatic living resources and assess implications for benefits transfer. It addresses (1) improved valuation of ecological benefits of aquatic resources and (2) benefit transfer for ecological resources.
Objective 1: Integrate ecological models, economic theory, and qualitative research to develop candidate indicators of aquatic living resources for use in valuation surveys, as a foundation for indicator-based stated preference valuation and transfer.
Objective 2: Develop choice experiment surveys to systematically test indicator-based valuation methods, models and results, including
a. qualitative assessments,
b. quantitative hypothesis tests,
c. experimental tests relative to provision of exogenous ecological information,
d. assessment of implications for benefits assessment.
Objective 3: Assess implications for indicator-based benefits transfer:
a. contrast performance, hypothesis tests, and benefit estimates across fresh/salt water case studies to assess transferability of indicators and benefit functions;
b. using indicator-based estimates, assess convergent validity of prior large-scale benefit transfers.
Objective 4: Develop transferable templates and guidelines for indicator-based stated preference (SP) valuation of aquatic living resources.

Approach:
Phase I will integrate economic and ecological models to develop indicators to communicate baselines and change in aquatic living resource assessment endpoints within SP surveys and models linking indicators to endpoints. Subsequent qualitative assessments to refine indicators will include interviews, focus groups (with/without paired ecological presentations), and verbal protocols.
Phase II will develop and implement choice experiment models and survey methods for indicator-based valuation. Results, including those derived from implementation in controlled experimental settings, will be used test hypotheses related to indicator performance and benefit estimation in case studies (e.g., Narragansett Bay; Hudson River).
Phase III will assess transferability of indicator-based results/methods, and compare benefit estimates to those from prior large-scale benefit transfers.
Phase IV will draw from prior phases to develop templates and guidelines for indicator-based SP valuation and identify calibrations necessary for application to other policy contexts.

Expected Results:
In addition to development and systematic qualitative/quantitative testing of indicator-based valuation for aquatic living resources, the proposed work will improve interdisciplinary mechanisms to model and communicate aquatic ecosystem change within SP valuation—an area currently dominated by ad hoc approaches. Indicator-based methods will be designed for broad applicability and to improve the validity and accuracy of use/nonuse benefit estimation for salt and freshwater ecosystems. Developed methods will be differentiated from existing approaches by a formal basis in established ecological indicators; integrated economic/ecological models linking measurable policy outcomes (i.e., indicators) to welfare-relevant attributes; and evidence that indicators unambiguously communicate applicable ecological baselines/change. This research will also provide a unique opportunity to assess the role of ecological indicators in benefit transfer, and the validity of small and large-scale benefit transfers associated with aquatic living resources.

Supplemental Keywords:
ecology, economic, non-market valuation, benefit-cost, willingness to pay, contingent valuation, , Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, RFA, Social Science, decision-making, Economics & Decision Making, Ecology and Ecosystems, ecosystem valuation, benefits assessment, environmental priorities, aquatic resources, indicator based stated preference valuation, decision analysis, decision making, environmental policy, willingness to pay, stated preference, benefits transfer, valuation, comparative study, contingent valuation, environmental decision making

Metadata

EPA/NSF ID:
R832420
Principal Investigators:
Johnston, Robert J.
Besedin, Elena
Schultz, Eric
Segerson, Kathleen
Technical Liaison:
Research Organization:
University of Connecticut
Funding Agency/Program:
EPA/ORD/Valuation
Grant Year:
2004
Project Period:
October 1, 2005 to September 30, 2008
Cost to Funding Agency:
$405,154
Project Status Reports:
Project Reports:

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