An Application of a Survey-Based Economic Methodology to Quantify the Benefits of Controlling Odors from Diesel Vehicles 840175
Economists have developed several methodologies that employ survey data to measure the benefits of aesthetic or other nonmarket goods. This paper describes the potential for applying one such approach, contingent ranking, to the problem of measuring the benefits that result from controlling diesel odors. In a survey pre-test, a small sample of 79 respondents in the Boston SMSA were exposed to diesel odors of Butanol intensities 2, 4, and 6. The benefit of avoiding one weekly contact with the most intense odor (Butanol 6), as expressed in terms of annual household willingness to pay, was estimated at about $8.25, while the benefit of avoiding one weekly contact with less intense odors (Butanol 2 or 4) was estimated at about $2.15. These results are internally consistent and the magnitude of the benefit appears reasonable. Nevertheless, the results are based on a small sample that did not control for possible non-response, so these benefits are not generalizable to other populations with a high level of confidence.