Marine debris, beach quality, and non-market values

V. Kerry Smith, Xiaolong Zhang, Raymond B. Palmquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


This paper reports the first attempt to measure the importance of controlling marine debris as an aesthetic characteristic of beaches and coastal area. The results are based on a contingent valuation survey designed to estimate the economic value people would place on controlling marine debris on recreational beaches in New Jersey and North Carolina. A Weibull survival modal was estimated treating for and against votes as defining censoring points for an unknown willingness to pay distribution. The findings suggest: (1) people do distinguish situations with differing amounts of debris when they are described using color photographs; (2) the pilot survey implies measures of people's willingness to pay (WTP) for debris control are consistent with a scope test in that larger WTP is associated with programs intended to address situations for more serious background levels of debris; and (3) local beach conditions seem to influence how people interpreted the plans describing beach conditions without the proposed control programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-247
Number of pages25
JournalEnvironmental and Resource Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997


  • Contingent valuation
  • Marine debris
  • Scope test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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