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Environmental Values

The Disvalue of 'Contingent Valuation' and the Problem of the 'Expectation Gap'

Laura Westra

Environmental Values 9(2000): 153-171. doi: 10.3197/096327100129342010

'Contingent Valuation' is a method often used to make decisions about environmental issues. It is used to elicit citizens' preferences at the location of a specific facility, new road and the like. I argue that even if we could elicit a truly informed and 'free' choice, the method would remain flawed, as 1) all 'local' activity also has far-reaching environmental consequences; 2) majority decisions may support chices that adversely affect minorities; 3) even with full information, consenting to harms like significant alterations of our normal functioning or health, or genetic mutations, may not be morally acceptable.


KEYWORDS: risk assessment methods, citizens' choices, global impacts, minority rights

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Environmental Valuation: Some Problems of Wrong Questions and Misleading Answers. Jack L. Knetsch

Economists' Preferences and the Preferences of Economists. Bryan G. Norton

Economic Valuation and Environmental Values. Michael Prior

Four Dogmas of Environmental Economics. Mark Sagoff

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles:

Teleological Presuppositions, and the 'Expectation Gap': A Response to Laura Westra Peter Lucas


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