For more than 60 years, experts at Resources for the Future (RFF) and elsewhere have sought to understand people’s preferences and willingness to pay for environmental public goods in order to improve environmental regulations. This information is also a strong influence on economic growth, and is essential for the future well-being and security of human and natural systems.
One of the newest methods for understanding preferences and environmental valuation is neuroeconomics—the study of how the brain makes economic-related decisions. Experts at this seminar, hosted by RFF with New York University’s Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Decision Making, examined new findings from the institute that bring neuroscience to bear on what was once largely an economics question: How do people value environmental goods? Panelists dicussed how these findings compare with traditional contingent valuation (one of the longest-standing, conventional approaches to environmental valuation) and the implications for public policy.