Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Economics at the Fringe: Non-Market Valuation Studies and their Role in Land Use Plans in the United States

Banzhaf, H. Spencer (2009): Economics at the Fringe: Non-Market Valuation Studies and their Role in Land Use Plans in the United States. Published in: Journal of Environmental Management , Vol. 91, No. 3 (2010): pp. 592-602.

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Abstract

Over the past fifty years, economists have developed methods for estimating the public benefits of green spaces, allowing such information to be incorporated into land-use planning. But the extent to which it is ever used is unclear. This paper reviews the literature on public values for lands on urban outskirts, not just to survey their methods or empirical findings, but to evaluate the role they have played—or have the potential to play—in actual US land use plans. Based on interviews with authors and representatives of land trusts and governments, it appears that academic work has had a mixed reception in the policy world. Reasons include a lack of interest in making academic work accessible to policy makers, emphasizing revealed preference methods which ignore important non-use values, and emphasizing average values over distributions of values. Nevertheless, some success stories that illustrate how such infor-mation can play a role in the design of conservation policies.

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