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Your Environment. Your Health.

Are we underestimating the economic costs of wildfire smoke? An investigation using the life satisfaction approach

Environmental Health Economic Analysis Annotated Bibliography

Details

Research article Cost analysis (CA)
Authors
Jones BA
Journal
Journal of Forest Economics
Summary
This cost analysis study examined economic costs of wildfire smoke across the United States using a life satisfaction approach and provided, for the first time, a comprehensive measure of smoke costs based on changes in individuals' subjective well-being. Results showed that United States adults are willing to pay $373 to avoid one day of wildfire smoke over their county of residence within a six-month period. Additionally, results showed that residents of rural areas are willing to pay $130 more than urban residents. These results are higher than other studies that based willingness to pay on indirect costs of health impacts, suggesting that true costs of wildfire smoke are larger than previously estimated. These findings provide insights into the total costs of wildfire smoke and have policy implications for fire management and wildfire mitigation programs.
Population
Adults (≥18 years old)

Health Outcomes

  • Not available

Environmental Agents

List of Environmental Agents:

  • Air pollutants (particulate matter (PM2.5/fine), smoke pollution)

Source of Environmental Agents:

  • Wildfires

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source

Type:

  • Cost analysis (CA)

Cost Measured:

  • WTP for a one day reduction in wildfire smoke over an individual's county of residence, which factors in costs associated with direct and indirect changes to well-being

Potential Cost Measures: (Not available)

Benefits Measures: (Not available)

Potential Benefits: (Not available)

Location:

  • Continental United States and the District of Columbia

Models Used: (Not available)

Methods Used:

  • The author used a life satisfaction approach to estimate wildfire smoke economic costs faced by individuals from direct and indirect sources. The author — 1) collected data on subjective life satisfaction and respondent socioeconomic, demographic, and county of residence data from a national Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey; 2) identified smoke event days for each county on each day from 2006-2010 from daily spatial mappings of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) for the United States; 3) calculated the number of smoke event days and the average daily weather values during the six-month period prior to a respondent’s BRFSS interview date for their county; 4) used a fixed effects repeated cross-sectional design to estimate the willingness to pay (WTP) using three different models; and 5) explored extensions to the baseline specifications to calculate estimates for urban and rural residents, and effects of smoke event frequency.

Sources Used:

  • Data on subjective life satisfaction from the United States CDC BRFSS for the United States adult population; indicator variables for wildfire smoke using daily smoke products from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) Hazard Mapping System (HMS); daily weather data on minimum and maximum temperature and precipitation for each United States county from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (formerly known as the National Climatic Data Center); additional sources cited in publication

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source

Citation:

  • Jones BA. 2017. Are we underestimating the economic costs of wildfire smoke? An investigation using the life satisfaction approach. Journal of Forest Economics.
  • Pubmed: (Not available)
  • DOI

NIEHS Funding: (Not available)

Other Funding: (Not available)

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