The MEM Seminar Series 2005/2006


Public decision-making and policies should ideally reflect an understanding of the public's values. This is true of public projects and programmes and even more so where they involve non-market goods of which the environment occupies a large component. Because society's values about the environment are not generally expressed in the marketplace, non-market goods valuation has, overtime, become an important input into government decision-making. That the price of such environmental goods and services are not readily revealed by way of the market does not mean that these goods have little or no values. It requires however an indirect approach to imputed values. Increasing concerns over environmental degradation have amplified the role of environmental economics and the necessity of valuing non-pecuniary environmental resources as tools of analysis to facilitate the optimal design of policies. As this talk is intended for a general audience, the subject of what is meant by economic valuation will be introduced. Why do we need valuation in monetary terms and if so, how do economists price nature are some of the topics discussed here. The talk will include a taxonomy of environmental values, monetary valuation techniques, and benefit-cost analysis. References are also made to one multiple good valuation method, namely the method of binary choice paired comparisons which can be used for valuing a wide range of environmental goods. Where possible, real examples for illustration purposes will be utilized.


About the speaker

Euston Quah is Associate Professor and Head of Economics at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He publishes widely in the fields of environmental economics, cost-benefit analysis, law and economics, and household economics. Among some of his 40 over journal publications include Environment and Planning : Series A and C; Journal of Environmental Management; World Development; Journal of Environmental Law; Journal of Public Economic Theory; American Journal of Economics and Sociology; Applied Economics; and in the International Review of Law and Economics. He has also published some 5 books with major international publishers (such as McGraw-Hill, Edward Elgar, and Ashgate); the latest with Routledge, UK with a forthcoming title, Cost-Benefit Analysis with E.J. Mishan; and a book on Microeconomics: Asian Perspectives with Gregory Mankiw, forthcoming in 2007, to be published by Thomson. One of his books was listed by the International Library of Critical Writings in Economics in 2004, and his works have been reviewed favourably in the Journal of Economic Literature, the Economic Journal, and in the Journal of Labour Economics. In 2005, he was invited as one of twelve eminent speakers in the Asia-Pacific by UNESCAP for the Eminent Environmental Economists Symposium held in conjunction with the Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Seoul, Korea.


Prof Quah was a former Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; Deputy Director of the Public Policy Programme; Founding Director of the Singapore Centre for Policy and Applied Economics; and Acting Head of Economics at NUS. He has also been an advisor to several Ministries and Statutory Boards in Singapore contributing to studies on cost-benefit analysis of public projects and programmes in addition to being a consultant to major international agencies. Professor Quah's study on air pollution had been acknowledged as the first of its kind for Singapore by the Ministry of the Environment as well as the first study on the social cost of smoking in Singapore. He was a member of the Programme Management Committee of the MSc (Environmental Management) Programme at NUS.




Seminar on


How Much For the Environment ?

Economic Valuation: Why, What and How?





Associate Professor Euston Quah Head of Economics Department

Nanyang Technological University Singapore



Friday 31 March 2006

6.00pm 8.00pm

Executive Room 5

SDE 2 Level 3


All Are Welcome


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