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Environmental Values

Nonuse Values and the Environment: Economic and Ethical Motivations

Tom Crowards

Environmental Values 6(1997): 143-167. doi: 10.3197/096327197776679167

Nonuse values are a potentially very important, but controversial, aspect of the economic valuation of the environment. Since no use is envisaged by the individual, a degree of altruism appears to be the driving force behind nonuse values. Whilst much of the controversy has focused upon measurement issues associated with the contingent valuation method, this paper concentrates on the underlying motivations, whether ethical or economic, that form the basis for such values. Some fundamental aspects of defining and quantifying economic nonuse values are considered, and possible motives for attributing value to the environment are analysed, making a clear distinction between 'selfish' altruism and 'selfless' altruism. The difference has crucial implications for economic valuation and for assessing individuals' willingness to pay for environmental quality. The concept of Safe Minimum Standards is introduced as a means of supplementing purely economic methodology to incorporate ethical concerns into decision making.


KEYWORDS: nonuse values, self interest, altruism, safe minimum standards

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Existence Value, Welfare and Altruism. Jonathan Aldred

The Precautionary Principle in Contemporary Environmental Politics. Timothy O'Riordan and Andrew Jordan

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles:

Non-Market Coordination: Towards an Ecological Response to Austrian Economics. Dan Greenwood

Value Typology in Cost-Benefit Analysis. Seth D. Baum



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