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TP18 Assessing Ecosystem Services and Benefits
(VON-1117-723691) Use of Stated Preference Methods to Value the Benefits of Ecological Risk Reductions: A Case Study of Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls.
von Stackelberg, K1, 2, Hammitt, J2, 1 Menzie-Cura & Associates, Inc., Winchester, MA, USA2 Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, Boston, MA, USA
ABSTRACT- A risk assessment framework provides a basis for comparing potential risks or risk reductions across different policy alternatives, site-specific management strategies, or for evaluating permit applications. In many cases, it is beneficial, indeed necessary, to quantify the potential benefits of risk reductions. This is not typically straightforward for ecological risks in particular, since the benefits generally involve passive use values for which there are no observable markets. Most ecological benefits do not lend themselves to quantification using revealed preference methods. Although benefits do not necessarily require monetization, there are distinct advantages for quantifying benefits in terms of money. In particular, money is a convenient common metric across disparate endpoints (e.g., human health and ecological), allows for a direct comparison to predicted costs of the management alternatives, and allows for the incorporation of passive use values such as existence and bequest value. In the absence of observable markets for the endpoints of interest, stated preference methods that rely on individuals making hypothetical choices would seem to offer an approach. Although there are legitimate criticisms of stated preference methods, in some cases they may offer the only reasonable alternative to capturing the monetary value of benefits of regulatory actions. We present the results of a contingent valuation (CV) survey developed specifically to elicit willingness to pay values from the general public for risks and endpoints associated with exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) via fish ingestion. An ecological risk assessment framework forms the basis of the endpoints valued in the CV in order to evaluate the feasibility of monetizing the benefits of ecological risk reductions using stated preference methods.
Key words: contingent valuation, ecological risk, PCBs, risk reduction
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