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Three papers in natural resource valuation, accounting for cross-cultural contexts

by Hatton MacDonald, Darla.

Abstract (Summary)
This is a three paper thesis concerned with environmental valuation in cross cultural contexts. The first paper tests some of the hypotheses outlined in Adamowicz et al (1998) conceming potential sources of bias and other problems that might enter the contingent valuation process. In particular, the potential for satiation and cultural differences in willingness to pay are explored. The paper concludes that there are differences in how Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people in northern Canada place values on naturd resources such as the fishery. No strong tendencies to refüse to consider monetary - resource trade-offs were observed in either group. In general, satiation was found to be a negative influence on willingness to pay. Satiation with one's own use of a resource was a significant factor with the Non-Aboriginal population. Nonuse values were isolated for the group of satiated respondents. The non-use values reflect the existence values, bequest values, altruism, etc. The second paper examines how the random utility model could be adapted to model household firewood collection. Collecting fuelwood is first and foremost a resource allocation issue for the household. There are real opportunity costs in choosing one site for fuelwood collection over another. In the study areas of north-eastern Zimbabwe, households were observed to choose a variety of sites. The choice of any particular site was hypothesised to involve a trade-off of the various attributes of the sites which includes time, effort or catories as well as characteristics such as the availability of certain types of fuelwood at a site, whether the site passes by the garden or by the homestead of a friend. The closure of any particular site might represent a minor loss on average of 10 to 25 calories but for some households, the loss may be as high as 200 calories. This brings a spatial dimension to the analysis as the closure of a site will be borne differently by households depending on their proximity and perception of site and trip attributes. The third paper is an extension of the second paper where the problem of switching from wood to non-wood fiels is viewed in terrns of the social and economic factors which influence the decision-making process. While the results are not conclusive, which may be due to a lack of variation in the data or the relatively low nurnber of non-wood energy users in the dataset, there does appear to be merît in using the random utility hework. It is important to report these results, though tentative, as it lends some insight into the early stages of fuel switching and in turn, this may lead to an easing of the rate of deforestation in southern Afnca. With the growing interest in establishing a global carbon permit trading system, more research will be required in this area.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1998

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