Estimating the Value of Achieving “Good Ecological Status” in the Boyne River Catchment in Ireland Using Choice Experiments


  • Mavra Stithou University of Stirling, Scotland, UK
  • Stephen Hynes National University of Ireland, Galway
  • Nick Hanley University of Stirling, Scotland, UK
  • Danny Campbell Queen’s University, Belfast


Following the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), integrated catchment management plans must be prepared for all river basins in order to achieve “Good Ecological Status” (GES) in all EU waters. This concept is a broader measure of water quality than the chemical and biological measures which were previously dominant in EU water policy. The directive also calls for a consideration of the economic costs and benefits of improvements to the water bodies” ecological status in catchment management plans, along with the introduction of full social cost pricing for water use. In this paper, the Choice Experiment (CE) method of valuation is used to estimate the value of improvements in a number of components of ecological status in the Boyne river catchment in Ireland. The study determines what value the targeted population of the catchment place on the non-market economic benefits of moves towards GES. In addition, the effect of various factors of observed individual heterogeneity on choice is explored.