Valuing environmental amenities with nonparametric and semiparametric methods

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Crooker, John
Major Professor
Joseph Herriges
Catherine Kling
Committee Member
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The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 to teach economic theory as a truth of industrial life, and was very much concerned with applying economics to business and industry, particularly agriculture. Between 1910 and 1967 it showed the growing influence of other social studies, such as sociology, history, and political science. Today it encompasses the majors of Agricultural Business (preparing for agricultural finance and management), Business Economics, and Economics (for advanced studies in business or economics or for careers in financing, management, insurance, etc).

The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 under the Division of Industrial Science (later College of Liberal Arts and Sciences); it became co-directed by the Division of Agriculture in 1919. In 1910 it became the Department of Economics and Political Science. In 1913 it became the Department of Applied Economics and Social Science; in 1924 it became the Department of Economics, History, and Sociology; in 1931 it became the Department of Economics and Sociology. In 1967 it became the Department of Economics, and in 2007 it became co-directed by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Business.

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  • Department of Economic Science (1898–1910)
  • Department of Economics and Political Science (1910-1913)
  • Department of Applied Economics and Social Science (1913–1924)
  • Department of Economics, History and Sociology (1924–1931)
  • Department of Economics and Sociology (1931–1967)

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The dissertation consists of three essays. Each essay is presented in its own chapter beginning with chapter II. While each chapter is written as a stand alone document, the essays complement each other in subject matter, methodology and relevance to the econometrics and natural resource economics literature. In particular, the most fundamental problem investigated is how can we, as precisely as possible, value non-market goods without making parametric assumptions that may influence welfare estimates;The three essays comprising this dissertation contribute to the knowledge of the economics valuation literature in several important ways. First, semi-nonparametric and nonparametric estimators are rigorously assessed in a Monte Carlo study to determine if a methodology exists that does not rely upon the accuracy of parametric statements. The generalized maximum entropy framework is adapted to the discrete choice contingent valuation method. In addition, we investigate semi-nonparametric models in order to evaluate their fitting ability in this discrete choice setting. The estimators are applied to an important policy setting; namely, the valuation of wetlands in Iowa's prairie pothole region. Finally, the nonparametric method of Varian is adapted and extended to provide meaningful lower and upper bounds on welfare measures.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1998