Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 481–490 | Cite as

Reconsidering Donations for Nonmarket Valuation

  • Matthew J Kotchen


Researchers employing the stated-preference technique of contingent valuation have a history of using donations to value public goods despite conceptual differences between willingness to pay and willingness to donate. The practice is justified based on an understanding that willingness to donate can serve as a theoretical lower bound of the appropriate measure of Hicksian surplus. This paper shows that the basis for this understanding in the literature is incomplete and potentially misleading. If donations are used in valuation surveys, greater attention is needed to ensure consistency between the way stated preferences are elicited and donations would occur in practice.


Contingent valuation Donations Impure altruism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale University and NBERNew HavenUSA

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