Quantifying Passive Use Values From "Faint" Behavioral Trails: Television News Viewing and the Exxon Valdez

Date of Original Version



Working Paper

Abstract or Description

Observable actions in response to decreases in environmental quality are identified for passive users, those who will never use a damaged resource directly. The welfare implication of changes in the probability and value of time devoted to viewing news of the Valdez oil spill is estimated using a household production approach and assuming weak substitutability between news consumption and environmental protection. The implied change in welfare from viewing the news, expected to be a large component of passive use value, ranges from $12 to 17 million 1989 dollars. The approach also provides a basis for a conditioning element in the study of other observable behavior and for more general application to the observable costs of major news events.