On separating defensible benefit transfers from “smoke and mirrors”

V. Kerry Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Benefit transfer methods increasingly are being applied to value nonmarketed resources for both policy evaluation and natural resource damage litigation. This paper illustrates the need for guidelines for deciding when benefit transfer methods can be used to value changes in environmental resources. It begins by discussing applied economic modeling perspectives and relating them to benefit transfers as tools for evaluating policy. It reviews the history of benefit transfers and summarizes how they are typically undertaken, including the influence of the analyst's judgments on their outcome, by comparing the development of two different analyses that use benefit transfers to consider the same issue: estimating the benefits from limiting industrial effluents discharged into specific rivers. It proposes an agenda for future benefit transfer research: devising strategies for extending available benefit transfer theory, learning from existing research, and formulating transferable versus “portable” modeling strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-694
Number of pages10
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'On separating defensible benefit transfers from “smoke and mirrors”'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this