The Valuation of Environmental Health Damages in Developing Countries: Some Observations

This paper is based on the premises that human health problems related to environmental degradation and resource use are potentially serious in many parts of the developing world and that the scarcity of resources and the opportunity costs of environmental protection make it important for policy makers to consider the benefits and costs of improving human health through measures to prevent or reduce environmental pollution. There is a substantial literature on both the conceptual and empirical aspects of the economic valuation of policies to improve human health (Cropper and Freeman, 1991; Freeman, 1993; Johansson, 1995; US Environmental Protection Agency, 1997 and 1999). And we are beginning to see some studies of the benefits of improved health in developing countries, some of which will be cited below. But in my judgement, there is not yet an adequate body of empirical studies to support the economic assessment of policies to deal with the most pressing environmental health issues facing developing countries today.



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Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia