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Stated preferences methods

The stated preferences methods are good tools when the valuation involves non-market services with non-market values. These methods measure individuals’ preferences for a particular change in the environmental quality by asking the respondents, in a hypothetical setting, for their willingness-to-pay (WTP) for the specified change or the preferred choice of the future environmental state. The information can be collected with surveys conducted by mail, telephone, internet or face-to-face interviews. Common SP methods are contingent valuation and choice experiment.

In a contingent valuation survey, people are asked directly either how much they would be willing to pay for an environmental improvement, or, how much they would be willing to accept a compensation for the deterioration of the environmental quality.

  • Three Baltic Sea examples of contingent valuation studies:
    1) Söderqvist and Scharin (2000) studied willingness-to-pay for reduced eutrophication in the Stockholm Archipelago through a hypothetical nutrient abatement programme for one metre sight depth increase. 2) Markowska and Zylicz (1995) and 3) Söderqvist (1996) elicited in Poland and in Sweden the willingness-to-pay for reduced eutrophication in the Baltic Sea.


In a choice experiment survey, the WTP for a particular environmental change is elicited by the characteristics of the change and the hypothetical payment related to the environmental improvement.

  • Three examples of choice experiment studies representing multiple ecosystem services and several study areas: 1) Kataria and Lampi (2008) estimated the benefits of a decrease in the number of endangered species, the increase in cod stock, the decrease in the number of fishermen in danger to loose their job, and the increase in the monitoring of oil and chemical accidents in the Swedish state waters. 2) Eggert and Olsson (2009) studied the willingness-to-pay for four attributes: cod stock level, bathing water quality, green algae in bays and biodiversity level in the Swedish west coast Skagerrak and Kattegat. 3) Kosenius (2010) estimated the willingness-to-pay for the improvement in sigth depth, the decrease in so called coarse fish stocks, the amount of healthy vegetation, and the decrease in the abundance of the blue green algae blooms in the Gulf of Finland.


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