Methods of Environmental Valuation

  • John LoomisEmail author
  • Christopher Huber
  • Leslie Richardson
Living reference work entry


Commensurate valuation of market and nonmarket public goods allows for a more valid benefit-cost analysis. Economic methods for valuing nonmarket public goods include actual behavior-based revealed preference methods, such as the hedonic property method for urban-suburban public goods and travel cost models for outdoor recreation. For valuing proposed public goods for which there is no current behavior, or valuing the existence or passive use values of public goods, economists can rely on stated preference methods. While there is skepticism among some economists for relying on what people say they will pay rather than what their actual behavior suggests they will pay, there is general acceptance of stated preference methods. These stated preference methods include the well-known contingent valuation method and choice experiments (sometimes called conjoint analysis). Lastly, in situations where there is neither time nor money to conduct an original revealed or stated preference study, economists can rely on benefit transfers from existing revealed preference and stated preference studies to provide rough estimates of the values of public goods such as water quality, air quality, wetlands, recreation, and endangered species.


Hedonic property Choice experiment Contingent valuation Revealed preference Stated preference Travel cost models 


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Loomis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christopher Huber
    • 2
  • Leslie Richardson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Resource EconomicsColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science CenterFort CollinsUSA
  3. 3.National Park Service, Social Science ProgramFort CollinsUSA

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