A Method to Value Nature-related Webcam Viewing: the Value of Virtual Use with Application to Brown Bear Webcam Viewing
16,000 natural resource remote web cameras provide users around the world with an opportunity to view wildlife. The web cameras are free to view, so we are left with evaluating viewer's opportunity cost of time to estimate the consumer surplus. This model is applied to a sample of 2,649 viewers selected from over 10 million viewers of Alaska's Katmai National Park and Prserve brown bear webcams. The resulting consumer surplus is about $11 per hours of viewing, and yields over $27 million in benefit when applied to the 2.42 million viewer hours. The aggregate webcam viewing value is more than twice the aggregate on-site viewing value in Katmai National Park and Presernve. This model can be applied to other nature-related webcams around the world.
John Loomis, Leslie Richardson, Chris Huber, Jeffrey Skibins & Ryan Sharp (2018) A method to value nature-related webcam viewing: the value of virtual use with application to brown bear webcam viewing, Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy, 7:4, 452-462, DOI: 10.1080/21606544.2018.1483842