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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Contingent Valuation: A User's Guide


Contingent valuation (CV) is a survey-based method frequently used for placing monetary values on environmental goods and services not bought and sold in the marketplace. CV is usually the only feasible method for including passive use considerations in an economic analysis, a practice that has engendered considerable controversy. The issue of what a CV study tries to value is first addressed from the perspective of a policymaker and then the controversy over the inclusion of passive use is taken up in more detail. The major issues and positions taken in the technical debate over the use of CV are summarized from a user's perspective. Key design and implementation issues involved in undertaking a CV survey are examined and the reader is provided with a set of factors to examine in assessing the quality of a CV study.

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