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WELFARE LOSS OF WETLANDS DISINTEGRATION: A LOUISIANA STUDY

By STEPHEN FARBER

Abstract

This study estimates the loss in welfare of projected Louisiana coastal wetlands disintegration. Various programs have initiated costly projects to terminate this disintegration process. But can these projects succeed, and will their benefits exceed their costs? This study addresses the benefits issues and estimates reductions in incomes and consumption opportunities and increases in costs that would be avoided if restoration and enhancement projects are successful. Estimated welfare losses that would be avoided do not include non-user and lifestyle losses, which may be very important, and they do not include the costs of dismantling coastal infrastructure. These exclusions make the estimates of this study minimum estimates of welfare losses. Future economic welfare losses represent a 1990 present value in a range between $5.9 and $24.3 billion, depending upon discount rates and whether low or high loss estimates are used. In order to make these estimates more meaningful, the implied wetlands values were calculated on a per acre basis. These values ranged from $8,437 to $15,763 per acre. Copyright 1996 Western Economic Association International.

DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1465-7287.1996.tb00606.x
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