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    Author(s): Joseph E. Aldy; Randall A. Kramer; Thomas P. Holmes
    Date: 1999
    Source: Society & Natural Resources. 12(2): 93-106.
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (242 KB)

    Description

    Some critics in the environmental equity literature argue that low-income populations disproportionately have environmental risks, while the wealthy and better educated gain disproportionately from protecting unique ecosystems. The authors test this hypothesis in an analysis of the decline of Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forests. They calculate willingness-to-pay measures for forest protection through a contingent valuation survey. Survey respondents consider spruce-fir forest protection to be a normal good (income elasticity: 0.421). Education does not influence willingness-to-pay. In an assessment of willingness-to-pay scaled by income, the authors found that income has a negative effect, implying that as income increases, willingness-to-pay as a percentage of income decreases. Education weakly influences willingness-to-pay in this assessment. Given the substantial existence and bequest values associated with these forests, these results substantiate rejection of the hypothesis that conserving this unique ecosystem only benefits the wealthy and better educated.

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    Citation

    Aldy, Joseph E.; Kramer, Randall A.; Holmes, Thomas P. 1999. Environmental equity and the conservation of unique ecosystems: an analysis of the distribution of benefits for protecting Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forests. Society & Natural Resources. 12(2): 93-106.

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