Special Section: On Valuing Water-Based Recreation
Exploring existence value
Article first published online: 9 JUL 2010
Copyright 1987 by the American Geophysical Union.
Water Resources Research
Volume 23, Issue 5, pages 936–942, May 1987
How to Cite
1987), Exploring existence value, Water Resour. Res., 23(5), 936–942, doi:10.1029/WR023i005p00936., and (
- Issue published online: 9 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 9 JUL 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 13 NOV 1986
- Manuscript Received: 8 NOV 1985
The notion that individuals value the preservation of water resources independent of their own use of these resources is discussed. Issues in defining this value, termed “existence value,” are explored. Economic models are employed to assess the role of existence value in benefit-cost analysis. The motives underlying existence value are shown to matter to contingent valuation measurement of existence benefits. A stylized contingent valuation experiment is used to study nonusers’ attitudes regarding projects to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. Survey results indicate that altruism is one of the motives underlying existence value and that goods other than environmental and natural resources may provide existence benefits.