Skip to Main Content
Economic values, ethics, and ecosystem healthAuthor(s): Thomas P. Holmes; Randall A. Kramer
Source: SCFER Working Paper No. 80, 25 pp.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
PDF: View PDF (48 KB)
DescriptionEconomic valuations of changes in ecosystem health can provide quantitative information for social decisions. However, willingness to pay for ecosystem health may be motivated by an environmental ethic regarding the right thing to do. Counterpreferential choices based on an environmental ethic are inconsistent with the normative basis of welfare economics. In this paper, we examine some of the characteristics of willingness to pay values elicited using the contingent valuation method. Sequential contingent willingness to pay values for different levels of protection of high-elevation spruce-fir forests in the southern Appalachian Mountains were elicited from a random sample of households along with socio-economic and other information. An empirical analysis indicated that willingness to pay distributions and average willingness to pay did not vary with the level of protection. We discuss various factors that may explain our results including lexicographic preferences, low marginal values, lack of instrument sensitivity, or misrepresentation of the ecosystem services valued by the public. We conclude that further theoretical development of the relation between ethical motivations and economic value is warranted.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationHolmes, Thomas P.; Kramer, Randall A. 1995. Economic values, ethics, and ecosystem health. SCFER Working Paper No. 80, 25 pp.
Keywordscontingent valuation, willingness to pay, forest health, non-use valuation, natural resource economics
- Measuring the difference in mean willingness to pay when dichotomous choice contingent valuation responses are not independent
- A contingent valuation study of the value of reducing fire hazards to old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest
- How precise are monetary representations of environmental improvements?
XML: View XML