The economics literature has recently turned its attention to the existence of gender differences in various aspects of choice behaviour. This paper focuses upon such differences as may exist in the valuation of environmental resources. Firstly, the paper presents several reasons why women are expected to have a lower willingness-to-pay (WTP) for environmental improvements than do men. Secondly, in order to establish the empirical extent of gender differences the paper presents a model for estimating individual-specific benefits from environmental improvements. CVM referenda data from are collected and used in a double-bounded probit model to estimate female versus male WTP for remedial actions designed to improve three different water-based recreational activities in a previously highly polluted area. For these data, the paper finds that, even after controlling for income differences, women consistently have lower WTP values. The findings in this paper have potentially important consequences for the subsequent calculation of aggregate benefits from contingent valuation models that ignore the role of gender. Since women generally constitute about one half of a population base, turning a blind eye to gender means that aggregate WTP values will overstate the extent of benefits from environmental improvements.
Dupont, D.P. Gender and Willingness-to-pay for Recreational Benefits from Water Quality Improvements. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults: Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA. Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.