The Use (and Abuse) of Meta-Analysis in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: An Assessment

38 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2008 Last revised: 26 Apr 2009

See all articles by Jon P. Nelson

Jon P. Nelson

Pennsylvania State University - College of the Liberal Arts - Department of Economic

Peter E. Kennedy

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 12, 2008

Abstract

Motivated by the 2006 report of a Work Group appointed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this paper examines the present state of meta-analysis in environmental economics and offers recommendations for its future use. To this end we summarize and assess 130 meta-analyses from 115 published and unpublished studies, covering seventeen topical categories in environmental and resource economics. We first provide several generic meta-analysis models as reference points and discuss major estimation issues. Second, a tabular summary is presented for 130 meta-analyses with respect to methodology and econometric methods. Five key issues are identified as part of a complete analysis: (1) sample selection criteria; (2) basic data summary; (3) primary data heterogeneity; (4) heteroskedasticity; and (5) non-independence of multiple observations from primary studies. Third, a narrative summary is presented for 19 meta-analyses, including the three value-of-statistical-life studies examined by the EPA Work Group and one analysis from each of sixteen other categories. Fourth, we offer a set of best practice guidelines for future meta-analyses in this and other areas of economics. Last, the paper comments on the use of meta-analytic methods for benefit transfer of environmental values.

Keywords: Meta-analysis, Environmental Valuation, Benefit Transfer, Econometric Modeling

JEL Classification: C5, Q2, Q51

Suggested Citation

Nelson, Jon P. and Kennedy, Peter E., The Use (and Abuse) of Meta-Analysis in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: An Assessment (August 12, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1117490 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1117490

Jon P. Nelson (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University - College of the Liberal Arts - Department of Economic ( email )

Kern Graduate Building
University Park, PA 16802-3306
United States
814-237-0157 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.la.psu.edu/people/jpn

Peter E. Kennedy

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Department of Economics ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada
604-291-4516 (Phone)

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