Economic Valuation of Beach Erosion Control and Benefit Transfers
An erosion control program can have multiple (a bundle of) impacts on beach attributes, including property protection, aesthetic changes of the beach, potential danger to wildlife habitat, restricted beach access, etc. The purpose of this research is to value beach erosion control programs in terms of their effects on beach uses.
We propose to "dissect" alternative erosion control programs according to their impacts on beaches and to elicit individuals' preferences and values for the impacts of the control programs. The impacts to be valued include sand beach preservation, property protection, structure visibility, threat to wildlife habitat, threat to swimmers/surfers, beach access restrictions, water quality and erosion on the neighboring beaches. The overall economic value of a particular beach erosion control program can then be derived by combining the values of the impacts induced by the program, which enables economic comparison of programs and assessment of new programs based on the potential impacts.
A theoretical model to describe how an individual values changes in beach attributes will be developed. Two surveys, in-person and mail, will be conducted. Conjoint analysis and dichotomous choice survey methods are employed to elicit individuals' preferences for beach attributes induced or created by beach erosion control policies. These survey techniques are commonly used in marketing research to value bundles of goods or characteristics.
The data collected from the surveys can be used to estimate monetary values of beach attributes associated with erosion control. This proposed research is the first economic study to simultaneously examine the multiple impacts on beaches by erosion control programs and to derive monetary values associated with them. The proposed economic valuation of erosion control values the generic impacts of erosion control programs; hence, it is less site-specific. Theoretically, the estimated monetary values of impacts of erosion control can be applied to value other sites (beaches) as long as the values can be adjusted with the characteristics of the population at the new sites. The transferability of impact values from one population to the other will be tested in this study.
1) Identify the effects of erosion control programs on beach quality/use
2) Derive individuals' preferences regarding erosion control and obtain information on their willingness to pay (WTP) for beach protection via two surveys: an in-person survey of beach users and a mail survey of residents of New Hampshire and Maine
3) Derive monetary values of the changes in beach attributes induced/created by erosion control programs and evaluate the programs based on the estimated values (or losses)
4) Provide a guideline of economic valuation of beaches to policy makers and planners who have to weigh alternative beach uses and development plans
5) Examine and test the transferability of the estimated values for evaluating new or alternative erosion control programs at different sites
A particular erosion control program often has potential multiple (a bundle of) impacts on beach attributes, including property protection, aesthetic changes to the beach due to visible device, potential danger to wildlife habitat, restricted beach access, etc. We propose to value the impacts of control programs on beaches. The overall economic value of a particular control program can then be derived by combining the values of the effects induced by the program.
Conjoint analysis and dichotomous choice survey methods are employed to elicit individuals' preferences for bundles of beach attributes induced or created by beach erosion control policies. The data collected from the surveys can be used to estimate monetary values of beach attributes associated with erosion control. The proposed valuation method is less site-specific, so theoretically the estimated monetary values are more transferable between sites (beaches) as long as the values can be adjusted with the characteristics of the affected population.
The economic value of beach protection is important to policy makers (state and federal government officials) who must weigh the impacts of various types of protection programs and the cost of implementing these programs. In addition to property protection, there is increasing interest in other impacts of erosion control such as beach recreation and alteration of wildlife habitat.
Erosion control programs should be valued by their overall impacts on beaches. The proposed research will be the first study on the monetary values of the changes in a whole bundle of beach attributes induced by erosion control programs.
Available from the National Sea Grant Library (use NHU number to search) or NH Sea Grant
- Huang, J., J. Poor and M. Zhao (2007). Economic valuation of beach erosion control. Marine Resource Economics 22(3):221-238, 2007.
- Huang, J (2002). The sand beaches of New Hampshire and Maine.
- Zhao, M.Q. (2004). Welfare analysis in discrete choice models: a Monte Carlo simulation study. Master's Thesis, University of New Hampshire.
- Huang, J., G. Parsons, M. Zhao and P. Poor (2007). A combined conjoint-travel cost demand model for measuring the impact of erosion and erosion control programs on beach recreation. Proceedings, EPA Workshop on Valuation for Environmental Policy: Ecological Benefits, April 23-24, 2007, Arlington, Va., Session II: Wetlands and Coastal Resources.