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Environmental & Resource Economics

Environmental Benefits Transfer

Benefits transfer has been helping government agencies and other entities in conducting cost-benefit analyses of policies, programs, and projects implementation. Unlike high-cost survey methods, such as contingent valuation (CV) or travel cost (TC) that economists use to generate the monetary value of ecosystem goods and services, environmental benefits transfer is not a specific economic valuation technique. Instead, benefits transfer involves transposing existing monetary environmental values estimated at one site (study site) to another (policy site), usually with similar context or physical characteristics.

These cost-benefit analyses are required by law to justify policy, program, or project feasibility. In an effort to reduce the time and cost of full-scale studies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the use of desk studies in the early 1980s as the basis for cost-benefit analysis.

The concept of environmental benefits transfer has caused some debate among researchers. The results of environmental benefits transfer may face challenges of taking into account differences in time spans, the specification of the environmental goods and services to be valued, embedding effects, population, and other social-economic factors. Despite these and other conceptual and empirical limitations, environmental benefits transfer has been applied extensively by government agencies.

In cooperation with NIFA through its formula grants, land-grant university (LGU) researchers have applied benefits transfer techniques in estimating non-market value of environmental goods and services.

Examples of significant contributions are listed below:


Land-grant university researchers were invited


Non-land grant relevant resources on the state of the art and the validity of environmental benefits transfer:


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