HICAP work on ecosystem valuation presented at the Fifth World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists


Dr Rajesh Kumar Rai, Postdoctoral Fellow with the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE), presented a paper entitled ‘Is willingness-to-pay sensitive to the mode of payment? A choice experiment survey in the Koshi basin of Nepal”’ at the Fifth World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists in Istanbul, Turkey in a session on ‘Environmental Valuation: Approach Sensitivity’.

Rajesh Rai, Postdoctoral Fellow with SANDEE, at the WCERE

The paper is a result of a joint study commissioned under the Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP) and SANDEE at ICIMOD. It examines options for using a non-monetary numéraire to determine the willingness-to-pay (WTP) for environmental services. As part of ongoing research towards enhancing community resilience to climate change through sustainable management of ecosystem and their interface under HICAP, researchers from SANDEE and ICIMOD, conducted a discrete choice experiment in the Koshi basin of Nepal. Respondents were divided into two sub-samples, and given monetary and non-monetary (labour) options to express their WTP. The results from the study indicate that while about half the population is willing to pay in monetary terms for environmental services, this number goes up to three-fourths when asked to contribute in time instead of money. In addition, the paper also estimates that the shadow value of time to participate in watershed management activities is 79 percent of the market wage rate. 

The study contributes to the limited empirical literature on the applicability of non-market valuation surveys, including Choice Experiments, in developing countries. In developing countries, the use of money as the numéraire often limits the possibility of non-market valuation as a policy tool. 

A poster titled ‘Valuation of Watershed Services in the Koshi Basin of Nepal’, developed by ICIMOD’s publication unit, is available in the HICAP folder under HIMALDOC

The full paper can be accessed from the following url: http://www.webmeets.com/files/papers/wcere/2014/603/Rai%20et%20al.%202014.pdf