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Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 225–247 | Cite as

The measurement and decomposition of nonuse values: A critical review

  • Ronald G. Cummings
  • Glenn W. Harrison
Article

Abstract

We critically review the literature that claims that existence values, or nonuse values in general, are a large and measurable component of total value for certain environmental resources. Our concern is not with the question “do nonuse values exist?” For some individuals they surely do. Rather, our concern is with two interrelated questions: are there operationally meaningful theorems which might lead to the specific measurement of nonuse values, and do we in fact have a body of credible evidence which shows that nonuse values, particularly components of any nonuse value, are “large”? We find nothing in the way of operationally meaningful hypotheses which would permit the estimation of values attributable to specific motives of individuals. We find no credible basis for claims related to either the measurement of existence and other motive-related values or claims for the “large” relative size of such values. In short, we question the conventional wisdom that such values are measurable and that they are significant as a component of total value.

Key words

Nonuse value use value existence value contingent valuation 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald G. Cummings
    • 1
  • Glenn W. Harrison
    • 2
  1. 1.Policy Research CenterGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Economics, College of Business AdministrationUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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