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A Holistic vs. an Attribute-based Approach to Agri-Environmental Policy Valuation: Do Welfare Estimates Differ?


  • Stephen Hynes,

  • Danny Campbell,

  • Peter Howley

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    • Stephen Hynes is the contact author and is a senior researcher with the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway, Office. E-mail: Danny Campbell is a lecturer in environmental economics at the Institute of Agri-Food & Land Use, Queen’s University Belfast. E-mail: Peter Howley is a research officer at the Rural Economy Research Centre, Teagasc, Athenry, Galway, Ireland. E-mail: The authors would like to acknowledge the useful comments received from the Editor-in-Chief and the two anonymous referees on previous versions of the paper. This paper was written as part of a Rural Stimulus Funded project, financed by The Irish Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.


Different economic valuation methodologies can be used to value the non-market benefits of an agri-environmental scheme. In particular, the non-market value can be examined by assessing the public’s willingness to pay for the policy outputs as a whole or by modelling the preferences of society for the component attributes of the rural landscape that result from the implementation of the policy. In this article we examine whether the welfare values estimated for an agri-environmental policy are significantly different between an holistic valuation methodology (using contingent valuation) and an attribute-based valuation methodology (choice experiment). It is argued that the valuation methodology chosen should be based on whether or not the overall objective is the valuation of the agri-environment policy package in its entirety or the valuation of each of the policy’s distinct environmental outputs.

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