Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Preferences, information and biodiversity preservation

Spash, Clive L. and Hanley, N (1994): Preferences, information and biodiversity preservation. Published in: Ecological Economics , Vol. 12, No. 3 (1995): pp. 191-208.

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Abstract

This paper considers the nature of preferences for the preservation of biodiversity, and the extent to which individuals are well-informed about biodiversity. We present evidence that the elicitation of monetary bids to pay for biodiversity preservation, as required for cost-benefit analysis, fails as a measure of welfare changes due to the prevalence of preferences which neoclassical economics defines as lexicographic. That is, a significant proportion of individuals refuse to make trade-offs which require the substitution of biodiversity for other goods. In addition, we show that understanding of the biodiversity concept is extremely limited, raising concerns over a reliance on stated preferences, as revealed in contingent valuation studies, for decision-making on this issue. Results from two samples (students and the general public) are described.

This is a paper from the Ecological Economics discussion paper series edited by Clive L. Spash and run from Stirling University from 1994 to 1996. This particular paper was later published as (Spash and Hanley, 1995).

Spash, C.L., Hanley, N., 1995. Preferences, information and biodiversity preservation. Ecological Economics vol.12, no.3 pp.191-208.

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