Keywords: contingent valuation, nonmarket benefits, statistical reliability, travel cost method, water resources, recreation expenditure
Empirical evidence for large nonmarket values for water resources: TCM benefits estimates for Lake Powell
The wide acceptance of travel cost method (TCM) nonmarket benefits estimates rests, in part, on the fact that it deploys data on actual expenditures – as opposed to hypothetical behaviour – to estimate benefits conferred. The data for the current analysis was gathered from a survey that was distributed on-site at Lake Powell in 1997. The Lake Powell survey data indicates that aggregate recreation expenditures for Lake Powell trips were a remarkable $291 million in 1997. Hence, TCM benefits estimates for Lake Powell are also notably high. We explore several policy and management implications of our estimates including the light these high values shed on recent large and highly controversial CVM benefits estimates at water based sites.