Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 173–210

Contingent Valuation: Controversies and Evidence


  • Richard T. Carson
    • Department of EconomicsUniversity of California
  • Nicholas E. Flores
    • Department of EconomicsUniversity of California
  • Norman F. Meade
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationU.S. Department of Commerce

DOI: 10.1023/A:1011128332243

Cite this article as:
Carson, R.T., Flores, N.E. & Meade, N.F. Environmental and Resource Economics (2001) 19: 173. doi:10.1023/A:1011128332243


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.

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001