Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 173-210

First online:

Contingent Valuation: Controversies and Evidence

  • Richard T. CarsonAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, University of California
  • , Nicholas E. FloresAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, University of California
  • , Norman F. MeadeAffiliated withNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Contingent valuation (CV) has become one of the most widely usednon-market valuation techniques. CV's prominence is due to itsflexibility and ability to estimate total value, includingpassive use value. Its use and the inclusion of passive use valuein benefit-cost analyses and environmental litigation are thesubject of a contentious debate. This paper discusses key areasof the debate over CV and the validity of passive use value. Weconclude that many of the alleged problems with CV can beresolved by careful study design and implementation. We furtherconclude that claims that empirical CV findings are theoreticallyinconsistent are not generally supported by the literature. Thedebate over CV, however, has clarified several key issues relatedto nonmarket valuation and can provide useful guidance both to CVpractitioners and the users of CV results.