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
Date Written: August 12, 2008
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 To this end we summarize and assess 130 meta-analyses from 115 published and unpublished studies, covering seventeen topical categories in environmental and resource economics.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: Suggested Citation