Water Resources Research

Valuing wildlife in benefit-cost analyses: A case study involving endangered species


  • Kevin J. Boyle,

  • Richard C. Bishop


The focus of the research presented in this paper is to ask what types of values are relevant in the valuation of wildlife species for benefit-cost analyses of projects that may affect wildlife or its habitat. First, the components of value for wildlife resources are discussed, with emphasis on those particularly relevant to the valuation of endangered species. A simple model is then proposed and results from an application to valuing two of Wisconsin's endangered species of wildlife are presented. The empirical results indicate that significant values may be associated with endangered species of wildlife above and beyond those that arise from viewing these species in the wild. We conclude that to overlook values for wildlife species that go beyond common use values may result in a misleading project or policy decision.