Valuing access to biological collections with contingent valuation and cost-benefit analysis

Paul Mwebaze, Jeff Bennett

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Biological collections may be underutilised because of transaction costs incurred in their use. One way to reduce transaction costs and foster greater utilisation of biological collections that could benefit society is through the creation of a virtual central database of biological collections, available online. The objective of this paper is to estimate the benefits of this policy change using a dichotomous choice contingent valuation survey of the primary users of biological collections. Marginal willingness to pay (WTP) for access to a new central database linking collections around Australia was investigated through an annual user fee payment vehicle. The mean WTP of direct users of the proposed program was Australian dollar (A$) 149 per annum (95% confidence interval of $102 $348). We conducted a cost benefit analysis of the proposal, showing that the aggregate benefits are likely to outweigh the total costs of setting up and maintaining the database in the longer term. These findings are useful for resource allocation decisions regarding biological collections.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)238-258
    JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Policy
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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