WMU News

Economist describes valuation of environmental cleanups

March 28, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- How does an economist arrive at a dollar value when determining the cost of an environmental disaster? It's all about interviews and observations.

A Wednesday, April 9, lecture at Western Michigan University will focus on different models used in environmental valuation of resources. Dr. Kenneth McConnell, professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of Maryland, will present "Unsolved Problems in Methods of Revealed Preference," at 3 p.m. in Room 3508 of Knauss Hall.

When calculating environmental value, economists use two methods, according to McConnell.

"The first is an interview method that determines what people would pay for changes in natural resources," he says. "The second is an observation of what organizations actually pay for environmental changes, otherwise known as the revealed preference method."

McConnell has served as president of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and as a consultant for state, federal and international groups such as the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. His research has been applied to a variety of issues, including the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the economic loss of privatizing veterinarian services in India.

The lecture is part of the Werner Sichel Lecture-Seminar Series, which is sponsored by the WMU Department of Economics. The event is free and open to the public.

Media contact: Matt Gerard, 269 387-8400, matthew.gerard@wmich.edu

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