Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 537-553

First online:

Economic Valuation of Environmental Damages due to the Prestige Oil Spill in Spain

  • Maria L. LoureiroAffiliated withDepartamento de Fundamentos da Análise Económica, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela Email author 
  • , John B. LoomisAffiliated withDepartment of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University
  • , Maria Xosé VázquezAffiliated withDepartamento de Economía Aplicada, Universidade de Vigo

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This paper presents a parametric and non-parametric analysis of data from a contingent valuation study (CVM) conducted to estimate environmental use and passive use losses due to the Prestige oil spill. This is the first CVM study conducted in Europe after a large oil spill. The CVM survey was implemented using in person interviews. Mean willingness to pay (WTP) values were computed with both, a parametric and non-parametric approach. Parametric WTP estimation indicates that respondents in the sample are willing to pay about 40.51 € per household to avoid a similar future oil spill in Spain. This implies that on average, the Spanish society places a value of the environmental losses caused by the Prestige oil spill around 574 € million. Non-parametric estimates are slightly higher at 58.08 € per household. WTP results are similar to those obtained in the Exxon Valdez study.


Contingent valuation Wildlife losses Oil spills Passive use value

JEL Classification

Q51 Q53