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Contingent Valuation Studies in the Arts and Culture: An Annotated Bibliography

Douglas Noonan

No 304, Working Papers from Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago

Abstract: A prominent branch of stated preference estimation is known as contingent valuation methodology (CVM). Essentially, contingent valuation methodology involves asking a sample of individuals how much they would be willing to pay for a marginal change in the quantity of a public good provided. This measurement approach comes from a well-developed literature among environmental economists, who frequently use CVM to estimate the value of environmental quality. Extensive application of the method in the field over the past several decades has led to the development of numerous guidelines for appropriate use of CVM. A blue-ribbon panel, headed by Nobel laureates Ken Arrow and Robert Solow, summarized this "state of the art" of CVM research in their 1993 "Report of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Panel on Contingent Valuation." The NOAA report points out the risks in CVM surveys, identifies important techniques for avoiding those pitfalls, and ultimately concludes that proper CVM surveys can contribute important information about valuation. Is a tool from the environmental arena appropriate for the cultural arena? There are many important similarities between environmental and cultural goods. Environmental amenities are often characterized by providing recreational or "use" values, but many important environmental public goods have "non-use" values. These values include "existence value" (e.g. many people appreciate the existence of the Grand Canyon, even if they never have or never intend to visit it), "altruistic value" (i.e. the value derived from having others use the good), "option value" (i.e. the value of having the option to use something at a later date), "bequest value" (i.e. the value derived from providing the good for others in the future), or other "intrinsic values" for the good that people may have. Each of these types of esoteric values play prominent roles in the cultural arena as well. CVM has been developed precisely to measure these non-use values, and extending its application to cultural goods and services appears to be a natural fit.

Keywords: contingent valuation methodology; cultural goods; cultural policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2003-02
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