Environmental Economics

Methods Development for Assessing Air Pollution Control Benefits Volume V - Executive Summary

The studies summarized by this volume represent original efforts to construct both a conceptually consistent and empirically verifiable set of methods for assessing environmental quality improvement benefits. While the state-of-the-art does not at present allow us to provide highly accurate estimates of the benefits of reduced human or plant exposure to air pollutants, these studies nevertheless provide a set of fundamental benchmarks on which further efforts might be built. These are: 1) many benefits traditionally viewed as intangible and therefore non-measurable can, in fact, be measured and be made comparable to economic values as expressed in markets; 2) aesthetic and morbidity effects may dominate the measure of benefits as opposed to previous emphases on mortality health effects; and 3) the likely economic benefits of air quality improvements are perhaps as much as an order of magnitude greater than previous studies had hypothesized.