Terms and Definitions used in Toolkit


a benefit transfer based on the use of an average economic value estimate or some other measure of central tendency from several relevant primary studies in the existing literature.

the adaptation and use of economic benefit estimates or other information derived from original stated and revealed preference studies in another context. The source(s) of the available economic information is typically referred to as the “study site,” and the context that this information is used in is referred to as the “policy site.”

measured as the amount of money (or other goods and services) that an individual is willing to give up to obtain a particular good or service. Willingness-to-pay above and beyond any costs paid for the good or service (e.g., entrance fees, travel costs) reflects consumer surplus, or net willingness-to-pay. This is the standard measure of benefits used in economic efficiency or benefit-cost analyses.

socially valued outcomes resulting from ecosystem functions. Examples include clean water, harvesting of animals or plants, flood control provided by an intact wetland, and climate regulation resulting from carbon sequestration. Some ecosystem services are commodities sold in markets, such as commercially harvested fish, and others are nonmarket goods and services.

a benefit transfer based on the use of a statistical model that relates economic benefit estimates with methodological and study site characteristics. Transfers can be based on a benefit or demand function, or a meta-regression function.

a benefit transfer based on the use of a meta-regression function that statistically analyzes the relationship between economic value estimates and various study and resource specific attributes across all applicable primary studies in the existing literature. This relationship is customized to match the characteristics of the policy site for which a value is needed, and a value estimate is forecasted based on these user defined characteristics.

the economic benefits derived from goods and services that are not traded in conventional markets. These values provide a monetary measure of the benefits individuals attribute to visiting a recreation site or knowing that a particular resource exists, for instance.

also referred to as non-use value, this reflects nonmarket values that are not associated with the actual use of a resource. This can include the value individuals place on ensuring the availability of a resource for future generations (bequest value), or the value placed on simply knowing that a resource exists in a particular condition (existence value).

a benefit transfer based on the use of an economic value estimate from a single relevant primary study in the existing literature.

used to estimate nonmarket use values based on choices that individuals make within related markets. Common approaches include the travel cost method, hedonic pricing method, and the defensive behavior method.

used to estimate nonmarket values based on answers to carefully worded survey questions depicting a hypothetical market scenario. Common approaches include the contingent valuation method and attribute-based methods (e.g., choice experiments). These methods can be used to estimate both use and passive use values.

the sum of use and passive use values for a particular resource.

value derived from the direct use of a resource, such as recreation, or the indirect use of a resource, such as flood control provided by a wetland.

a benefit transfer based on the use of a single point estimate, a measure of central tendency (e.g., an average value), or an administratively approved economic value estimate.