Contingent Valuation of Mining Land Reclamation in East Germany
Large parts of East German landscapes are formed by lignite mining activities. The mining pits destroy vast areas of the existing cultural landscapes. These areas have to be made re-accessible to society through extensive reclamation projects after mining has been finished. For an appraisal of the social benefits that need to be compared to the costs of these projects the Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) is the method of choice. The CVM measures the willingness to pay of households for such a project. This paper reports the findings of a Con-tingent Valuation study assessing the social utility created by a reclamation project north of the city of Cottbus in Brandenburg, Germany. The goal of the study is threefold. Firstly, the affected population's aggregate willingness to pay for the planned reclamation project is cal-culated; it amounts to 2.7 mil. Euro per year. Secondly, the determinants of this willingness to pay are analyzed. Apart from the expected positive impact of income on willingness to pay we find that it is also influenced by people's recreational activities, their general attitudes to-wards public spending and by their concerns about the economic situation. Thirdly, the study explores methodological specifics of an application of the CVM to Germany, especially in East Germany, by focusing on the appropriate design of the willingness to pay question which is an important feature still controversially discussed in the literature.
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