In China, 76% of all energy comes from coal consumption, which is the major cause of air pollution. One of the major barriers to developing sound policies for controlling air pollution is the lack of information related to the value of the health consequences of air pollution. We conducted a willingness-to-pay (WTP) study using contingent valuation (CV) methods in Chongqing, China to estimate the economic value of saving one statistical life through improving air quality.
A sample of 500 residents was chosen based on multistage sampling methods. A face-to-face household interview was conducted using a series of hypothetical, open-ended scenarios followed by bidding game questions designed to elicit the respondents' WTP for air pollution reduction. The Two-Part Model was used for estimations.
The results show that 96% of respondents were able to express their WTP. Their mean annual income is $490. Their WTP to save one statistical life is $34,458. Marginal increases for saving one statistical life is $240 with 1 year age increase, $14,434 with 100 yuan monthly income increase, and $1590 with 1 year education increase. Unlike developed country, clean air may still be considered as a “luxury” good in China based on the estimation of income elasticity.