Valuing nature in a general equilibrium

Jared C. Carbone, V. Kerry Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We explore the consequences of modeling the demand for environmental quality improvements as a fully integrated part of a general equilibrium demand system in an applied general equilibrium (or CGE) analysis. Demand for non-market goods depends on a full range of relative prices as well as environmental outcomes. We simulate the effects of reducing two air pollutants to improve human health and three ecosystem services provided to households. The ecosystem services make non-separable contributions to household utility. We find that willingness to pay measures of use-based ecosystem services are impacted by changes in demand for complementary market goods. Demand for these goods shifts due to pollution reductions that enhance ecosystem services. Partial equilibrium estimates of these use values can be measured with substantial error if they fail to account for the general equilibrium adjustments caused by pollution. Over 300 calibrations of the model identify the model features important to these errors. We find that effects on ecosystem services associated with non-use values have important implications for the feedback effects on use related measures of economic tradeoffs. This is due to how our model integrates market and non-market effects, reflecting the non-market services importance to general equilibrium market outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-89
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Ecosystem services
  • General equilibrium benefit measures
  • Health effects
  • Non-market environmental service

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Valuing nature in a general equilibrium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this