What Level of Information Enables the Public to Act Like Experts When Evaluating Ecological Goods?
Although contingent valuation is widely discussed in the literature as a technique for environmental valuation, it is well recognized that a number of problems are associated with its use. This paper seeks to address two of these problems: the difficulty of externally verifying the results of a CV study; and the choice of an appropriate level of information to provide to respondents. Four sites were evaluated, first by expert ecologists and then by the general public using the CV method. In conducting the CV, six different categories of information were presented to different groups of respondents to test which was most appropriate.The results show that, given an information set consisting of photographic,textual and ecological data, respondents to a CV study were able to rank the four sites in the same order as ecological experts. This may be seen as a form of external verification to the results of the contingent valuation.
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