Does “Existence Value” Exist? Environmental Economics Encroaches on Religion
By Robert H. Nelson
This article appeared in the Spring 1997 issue of The Independent Review

In recent years, economists seeking a broader measure of the value of environmental amenities have invoked a new concept—“existence value”—purporting to define the value people attach to simply knowing that certain natural resources exist. However, despite its scientific veneer, this problematic concept is loaded with theoretical and value implications that make it more at home in theology than in economics.

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