Skip to main content
Log in

Environmental Valuation – To Use or Not to Use? A Comparative Study of the United States and Europe

  • Published:
Environmental and Resource Economics Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Valuation methods have been used for five main purposes in environmental decision-making. Cost–benefit analysis (CBA) of projects, CBA of new regulations, natural resource damage assessment, environmental costing, and environmental accounting. The relatively lower importance attached to economic efficiency in environmental decision-making in most European countries compared to the U.S.A., both legally and in practice, might account for our general finding that there are very few valuation studies in Europe which have served as a decisive basis for environmental policy and regulations. However, with EU's goal to establish environmentally adjusted national accounts and to apply CBA to environmental policy and regulations, time seems ripe for an increased use of valuation techniques in Europe.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  • ADB (1996), Economic Evaluation of Environmental Impacts. A workbook. Asian Development Bank (ADB). Parts I and II, March 1996, Manila, Philippines.

  • Arrow, K., R. Solow, P. R. Portney, E. E. Leamer, R. Radner, H. Schuman (1993), 'Report of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Panel on Contingent Valuation', 58 Federal Register, 4601–4614.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bergland, O., K. Magnussen and S. Navrud (1995), 'Benefit Transfer: Testing for Accuracy and Reli-ability', Discussion Paper D-03/95. Department of Economics and Social Sciences, Agricultural University of Norway.

  • Bergmann, H. and G. Westermann (1984), 'Tentative Estimate of Damage Caused by SO2 Depositions in the European Community and Cost of Controlling SO2 Emissions', Document prepared for the 5th CIDIE meeting. Luxembourg, June 13–15.

  • Braden, J. B. and C. D. Kolstad (eds.) (1991), Measuring the Demand for Environmental Quality. Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. North-Holland, Amsterdam.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brendemoen, A., S. Glomsrød and M. Aaserud (1992), 'Environmental Costs in a Macro Perspec-tive', (in Norwegian: Miljøkostnader i makroperspektiv), Report No. 92/17. Oslo-Kongsvinger: Statistics Norway.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brennan, T. J., K. L. Palmer, R. J. Kopp, A. J. Krupnick, V. Stagliano and D. Burtraw (1996), A Shock to the System: Restructuring America's Electricity Industry. Resources for the Future, Washington D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  • Burtraw, D. and P. R. Portney (1991), 'Environmental Policy in the United States', in D. Helm, ed., Economic Policy Towards the Environment. Blackwell.

  • Carlsen, A. J., J. Strand and F. Wenstøp (1993), 'Implicit Environmental Costs in Hydroelectric Development: An Analysis of the Norwegian Master Plan for Water Resources', Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 25(3), 201–211.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carson, R. T., W. M. Hanemann, R. J. Kopp, J. A. Krosnick, R. C. Mitchell, S. Presser, P. A. Ruud and V. K. Smith (1996), 'Was the NOAA Panel Right About Contingent Valuation?', Discussion Paper 96–20 (May). Washington D.C.: Resources For the Future.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carson, R. T., J. Wright, A. Alberini, N. Carson and N. Flores (1995), A Bibliography of Contingent Valuation Studies and Papers. Natural Resource Damage Assessment, Inc., La Jolla, January.

  • CBO (1994), 'Greening the National Accounts', CBO Papers (March). Washington D.C.: Congres-sional Budget Office (CBO).

    Google Scholar 

  • Coller, M. and G. W. Harrison (1994), 'On the Use of the Contingent Valuation Method to Estimate Environmental Costs', Working Paper, September 7. School of Accounting/College of Business Administration, University of South Carolina, 37 pp.

  • Cropper, M. L. and W. E. Oates (1992), 'Environmental Economics: A Survey', Journal of Economic Literature 30, 675–740.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dasgupta, P., B. Kristr ¨ omand K.G.M¨ aler (1994), 'Current Issues in Resource Accounting', in P. O. Johansson and K. G. M¨ aler, eds., Current Issues in Resource Accounting, forthcoming.

  • Dubgaard, A., I. Bateman and M. Merlo, eds. (1994), Identification and Valuation of Public Benefits from Farming and Countryside Stewardship. Bruxelles, Belgium: Commission of the European Communities.

    Google Scholar 

  • EC-DGXII (1994), 'Externalities of Fuel Cycles. "ExternE" Project', Working Documents 1–9.

  • European Commission. Directorate Generale XII – Science, Research and Development/Joint Research Centre. December.

  • Espinosa, J. A. and V. K. Smith (1994), 'Implementing Thatcher's Full Repairing Lease: A CGE Analysis of the Role for Environmental Resources in Adjusting GDP', Discussion Paper 94-22 Resources for the Future.

  • European Community (1993), Towards Sustainability: A European Community Programme of Policy and Action in Relation to the Environment and Sustainable Development. Brussels, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.

    Google Scholar 

  • Famielec, J. (1991), 'Economic Losses Due to Environmental Pollution in Poland and the Cracow Region', in K. Gorka, ed., Environmental and Economic Aspects of the Industrial Development in Poland. Cracow: The Cracow Academy of Economics.

    Google Scholar 

  • Farrow, S. and D. M. Larson (1995), 'The Trailhead of "Faint" Behavioural Trails: Television News Viewing and the Exxon Valdez', AERE Newsletter 15(1) (May), 12–16.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fox-Penner, P. (1994), 'Critical Trends in State Utility Regulation', Natural Resources & Environment 8(3) (Winter), 17ff.

  • Hanemann, W. M. (1992), 'Preface (Notes on the History of Environmental Valuation in the USA)', in S. Navrud, ed., Pricing the Environment. Oslo/Oxford: Scandinavian University Press/Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hanemann, W. M. (1994), 'Contingent Valuation and Economics', Journal of Economic Perspectives 8(4), 19–43.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hanley, N. (1992), 'Are There Environmental Limits to Cost Benefit Analysis?', Environmental and Resource Economics 2, 33–59.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hanley, N. and C. L. Spash (1993), Cost–benefit Analysis and the Environment. U.K.: Edward Elgar.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hanley, N. D. and J. Wright (1992), 'Valuing the Environment: Recent UK Experience and an Application to Greenbelt Land', Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 35(2), 145–160.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hausman, J.A., ed. (1993), Contingent Valuation: A Critical Assessment. New York: North-Holland.

    Google Scholar 

  • Houtven, van G. L. and M. L. Cropper (1993), 'When Is Life Too Costly to Save? The Evidence from Environmental Regulations', Discussion Paper CRM 93-02. Resources for the Future.

  • Howe, C. W. (1993), 'The U.S. Environmental Policy Experience: A Critique with Suggestions for the European Community', Environmental and Resource Economics 3, 359–379.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hohmeyer, O. (1988), Social Costs of Energy Consumption. External Effects of Electricity Generation in the Federal Republic of Germany. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer-Verlag.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jones, C. A. and K. A. Pease (1996), 'Restoration-based Measures of Compensation in Natural Resource Liability Statutes', National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Version: January 29, 1996.

  • Kopp, R. J. and K. A. Pease (1994), 'Contingent Valuation: Economics, Law and Politics', paper pre-sented at the International Conference, Determining the Value of Non-marketed Goods: Economic, Psychological and Policy Relevant Aspects of Contingent Valuation Methods. Bad Homburg, Germany, July 27–29.

  • Krupnick, A., K. Harrison, E. Nickell and M. Toman (1996), 'The Value of Health Benefits from Ambient Air Quality Improvements in Central and Eastern Europe. An Exercise in Benefits Transfer', Environmental and Resource Economics7, 307–322.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kuik, O., S. Navrud and D. W. Pearce (1992), 'Benefit Estimation and Environmental Decision-making', in S. Navrud, ed., Pricing the European Environment. Oslo, Oxford: Scandinavian University Press/Oxford University Press, 274–287.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lone, Ø. (1987), Natural Resource Accounting and Budgeting: A Short History and Some Critical Reflections on the Norwegian Experience 1975–1987. Paris: OECD.

    Google Scholar 

  • Maastricht Vertrag (1992), Der Vertrag von Maastricht, Europa-Arhciv, 47. Jg., S. D177–D298.

  • Magnussen, K. (1995), 'Hva begrenser myndighetenes bruk av verdsettingsdata', (in Norwegian: Obstacles to government's use of valuation studies) Sosialøkonomen 5, 2–8.

    Google Scholar 

  • M¨ aler, K-G. (1991), 'National Accounts and Environmental Resources', Environmental and Resource Economics 1, 1–15.

    Google Scholar 

  • Merlo, M. and F. Della Puppa (1994), 'Public Benefit Valuation in Italy. A Review of Forestry and Farming Applications', in A. Dubgaard, I. Bateman, and M. Merlo, eds., Identification and Valuation of Public Benefits from Farming and Countryside Stewardship. Bruxelles, Belgium: Commission of the European Communities.

    Google Scholar 

  • MPHPPEM (1985), Environmental Programme of the Netherlands 1986–1990. Ministry of Public Housing, Physical Planning and Environmental Management (MPHPPEM)

  • Munoz, A. and D. Armengol (1991), 'The Use of Valuation Methods to Economical and Environ-mental Planning in Andalusia', Direcci ´ on General de Planificaci ´ on, Agencia de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucia, Sevilla, Spain. Poster paper at the second annual conference of EAERE, June 10–14, Stockholm.

  • Navrud, S. (1991), 'Norway', in J.-P. Barde and D. W. Pearce, eds., Valuing the Environment. Six Case Studies. London: Earthscan Publications Ltd., Ch. 5, 141–202.

    Google Scholar 

  • Navrud, S., ed. (1992), Pricing the European Environment. Oslo, Oxford: Scandinavian University Press/Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • NOAA(1994), 'National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, "Natural Resource Damage Assessments" ', 59 Federal Register 1062, January 7.

  • NOAA (1996), 'National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Natural Resource Damage Assessments: Final Rule', Federal Register, January 5 1996; 440–510.

  • OECD (1991), Report on the Environment. Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development..26 STA ° LE NAVRUD AND GERALD J. PRUCKNER OECD (1994), Project and Policy Appraisal: Integrating Economics and Environment. Paris: Organ-isation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). OECD (1995), 'The Economic Appraisal of Environmental Projects and Policies. A Practical Guide', Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Paris in co-operation with the Economic Development Institute (EDI) of the World Bank and Overseas Development Insti-tute (ODI). ORNL and RfF (1992), US-EC Fuel Cycle Study: Background Document to the Approach and Issues. Report No. 1 on the External Costs and Benefits of Fuel Cycles: A Study by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Commission of the European Communities. November 1992.

    Google Scholar 

  • ORNAL/M-2500. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Resources for the Future (RfF). Pace University Centre for Environmental Legal Studies (1990), Environmental Costs of Electricity. New York: Oceana.

  • Pearce, D. W. and J. J. Warford (1993), World Without End: Economics, Environment and Sustainable Development. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pearce, D., D. Whittington, S. Georgiou and D. Moran (1994), 'Economic Values and the Environment in the Developing World', A Report to the United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi. Final draft. October 1994, 160 pp.

  • Pech, S. (1994), 'Umweltpolitik in der Europaeischen Union', in R. Bartel and F. Hackl, eds., Umweltpolitik – Eine Einf ¨ uhrung. Verlag Vahlen.

  • Peskin, H. M. (1976), 'A National Accounting Framework for Environmental Assets', Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 2, 255–262.

    Google Scholar 

  • Portney, P. R. (1990), Public Policies for Environmental Protection. Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pruckner, G. J. (1994), Die ¨ okonomische Quantifizierung nat¨ urlicher Ressourcen – Eine Bewertung ¨ uberbetrieblicher Leistung der ¨ osterreichischen Land-und Forstwirtschaft. Frankfurt/Main: Verlag Peter Lang.

    Google Scholar 

  • Repetto, R., W. Magrath, M. Wells, C. Beer and F. Rossini (1989), Wasting Assets: Natural Resources in the National Income Accounts. Washington, D.C.: World Resources Institute.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rowe, R. D., C. M. Lang, L. G. Chestnut, D. A. Latimer, D. A. Rae, S. M. Bernow and D. E. White (1995), The New York Electricity Externality Study, Vols. I and II. Hagler Bailly Consulting, Inc., Oceana Publications Inc.

  • Schulz, W. and E. Schulz (1991), 'Germany', in J. P. Barde and D. W. Pearce, eds., Valuing the Environment. Six Case Studies, London: Earthscan Publications Ltd., 9–63.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sleszynski, J. (1994), 'A Survey of Research on the Costs of Environmental Damages in Poland', Working Paper. University of Warsaw, Warsaw Ecological Economics Centre.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, K. (1992), 'Environmental Policy Challenges for Economic Modelling', Paper for Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, Task Force on Economic Analysis and Modeling Related to Energy, Workshop Washington D.C., June 3–4, 95 pp.

  • Smith, V. K. (1993), 'Lightning Rods, Dart Boards, and Contingent Valuation', Working Paper.North Carolina State University: Departments of Economics and Agricultural and Resource Economics.

    Google Scholar 

  • Viscusi, W. K. (1993), 'The Value of Risks to Life and Health', Journal of Economic Literature 31, 1912–1946.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wicke, L. (1986), 'The Ecological Billions. The Costs of a Damaged Environment – In This Way It Can Be Saved' (In German: Die ¨ okologischen Milliarden), K¨ osel-Verlag, M¨ unchen.

  • Zylicz, T., I. Bateman, S. Georgiou and A. Markowska (1995), 'Contingent Valuation of Eutrophica-tion Damage in the Baltic Sea Region', Working Paper. Warsaw Ecological Economics Centre, University of Warsaw; Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment, University College London and University of East Anglia.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Navrud, S., Pruckner, G.J. Environmental Valuation – To Use or Not to Use? A Comparative Study of the United States and Europe. Environmental and Resource Economics 10, 1–26 (1997).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: