Non-market valuation: usage and impacts in environmental policy and management in Australia

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    Abstract

    An extensive literature exists on environmental nonmarket valuation research. It appears that results from these studies should be useful inputs to decision-making about environmental policy or management. Here, we investigate the extent to which this occurs in practice in Australian environmental management bodies. Nonmarket valuation experts were surveyed about their studies that they believed to have influenced policy. Then, decision-makers in environmental bodies were interviewed about the level of influence nonmarket valuation has had on their decisions. We find that researchers' perceptions of the influence that nonmarket valuation has on decision-making are overly optimistic. Interviews with decision-makers suggest that nonmarket valuation is little used in decision-making. Indeed, the majority of them are unfamiliar with nonmarket valuation techniques. Nevertheless, once the concept was explained to them, many decision-makers believed it could benefit environmental policy. Researchers' perceptions of the reasons for low usage of nonmarket valuation are largely inaccurate. We suggest a range of strategies that economists can use to promote the use of nonmarket valuation in environmental policy and management decisions, including ways to improve communication and engagement with decision-makers, and strategies to increase the capacity for decision-makers to use nonmarket valuation results.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages15
    JournalThe Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics
    Volume59
    Issue number1
    Early online date5 Nov 2013
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2015

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    Cite this

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    title = "Non-market valuation: usage and impacts in environmental policy and management in Australia",
    abstract = "An extensive literature exists on environmental nonmarket valuation research. It appears that results from these studies should be useful inputs to decision-making about environmental policy or management. Here, we investigate the extent to which this occurs in practice in Australian environmental management bodies. Nonmarket valuation experts were surveyed about their studies that they believed to have influenced policy. Then, decision-makers in environmental bodies were interviewed about the level of influence nonmarket valuation has had on their decisions. We find that researchers' perceptions of the influence that nonmarket valuation has on decision-making are overly optimistic. Interviews with decision-makers suggest that nonmarket valuation is little used in decision-making. Indeed, the majority of them are unfamiliar with nonmarket valuation techniques. Nevertheless, once the concept was explained to them, many decision-makers believed it could benefit environmental policy. Researchers' perceptions of the reasons for low usage of nonmarket valuation are largely inaccurate. We suggest a range of strategies that economists can use to promote the use of nonmarket valuation in environmental policy and management decisions, including ways to improve communication and engagement with decision-makers, and strategies to increase the capacity for decision-makers to use nonmarket valuation results.",
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