A Brief Economic Assessment on the Valuation of National and Natural Parks: the Case of Romania
AbstractIn the last decades, an increased interest has been expressed by researchers from worldwide towards studies about economic valuation of protected areas given that environmental public goods are not always traded on a market. Economists have struggled with this subject for decades and have developed several methods to estimate the economic values of these goods, known as non-market valuation methods. This paper reviews and presents a brief analysis of the most popular techniques as applied to natural areas, which are compared after grouping the research steps in five common steps for a consistent comparative analysis. Moreover, renowned studies conducted worldwide are revealed for each of the methods. A special interest has been noticed towards the estimation of welfare measures, such as Willingness To Pay (WTP) and consumer surplus, and towards differentiating user groups, as well as introducing several factors that may influence the decision to visit the natural areas. The case of Romanian national and natural parks is discussed in detail with the purpose to emphasize the need to continue the research in the field. The unique character of each of the studied parks, marked by geographic and cultural aspects, was confirmed through statistic analyses and thus welfare measures were determined for each park separately. The performed analyses proved that the methods have applicability in Romania as well.
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