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Why economic valuation does not value the environment: climate policy as collective endeavour

Bardsley, N., Ceddia, M. G., McCloy, R. ORCID: and Pfuderer, S. (2021) Why economic valuation does not value the environment: climate policy as collective endeavour. Environmental Values. ISSN 1752-7015

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3197/096327121X16081160834740


Economics takes an individualistic approach to human behaviour. This is reflected in the use of “contingent valuation” surveys to conduct cost benefit analysis for economic policy evaluation. An individual’s valuation of a policy is assumed to be unaffected by the burdens it places on others. We report a survey experiment to test this supposition in the context of climate change policy. Willingness to pay for climate change mitigation was higher when richer individuals were to bear higher costs than when, as is usual, no explicit information was provided about cost distribution. This result is inconsistent with the usual interpretation of contingent valuation data. It also suggests that the data may be biased indicators of policy acceptance. Additional survey questions suggest that a collective mode of reasoning is common.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Agri-Food Economics & Marketing
ID Code:91985
Publisher:White Horse Press


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