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Valuation of oil spill risk reductions in the Arctic

Noring, M., L. Hasselström, C. Håkansson, Å. Soutukorva and Å. Gren (2016). Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy. First online. doi: 10.1080/21606544.2016.1155499.


In this study, data from a contingent valuation (CV) study in Lofoten, Norway, are used to assess the value of ecosystem services at risk from oil spills in the Arctic. It is investigated to which extent subjective opinion about the probability of a potential oil spill steers respondents’ willingness to pay (WTP) for reducing risk. The respondents’ preferences are analysed for ecosystem services. Finally, differences in WTP for two hypothetical spill scenarios are considered: one where measures are taken to reduce the probability of a spill and one where measures are taken to reduce the probability and impacts in the event of an accident. The findings indicate that measures should focus on alleviating the impacts of oil spills on ecosystem services generally, rather than on any specific ecosystem service. Furthermore, respondents’ perception of risk is higher than the estimated objective risk. The findings also suggest that respondents are more concerned about preventing the occurrence of oil spill accidents (usually considered to be more frequent than they actually are) compared to preventing the impacts of a spill. One policy implication is to focus more on policies that decrease the probability of spills than on policies that decrease the subsequent ecological impact.

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Keywords: Ecosystem services; risk; Arctic; non-market valuation; oil spill

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