Nonuse economic value: emerging policy analysis tool
Nonusers, or individuals who never visit or otherwise use a natural resource, may nevertheless be affected by changes in its status or quality. Monetary expression of their preferences for these resources is know as nonuse or passive-use economic value. Empirical estimates indicate that nonuse value may be substantial for some resources. Inclusion of nonuse value in economic efficiency analyses may alter the outcome of these analyses in some cases. So far, applications have remained largely in the research realm. However, changes in the legal and institutional framework and recent policy pronouncements make it probable that nonuse value will play an important role in natural resource decision making in the future. We briefly discuss the concept of nonuse economic value and its relevance in water resource decision making. The current institutional framework and the applicability and integration of nonuse value within the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process are explored. Details of an ongoing application for the Glen Canyon Environmental Studies Program are described.