Motivering (endast på engelska):In recent decades, large wildfire events have become common around the globe. Wildfires result into a multitude of environmental, social, and economic impacts. Among those impacts include increased carbon emissions and impacts on fauna and flora, wildlife habitat, recreation, tourism, water quality, property values, and human health. A good understanding of both short and long-term impacts of wildfires is essential for efficient policy formulation, wildfire management, and management of natural resources in affected areas. While health issues have been included in the environmental economics literature in the past, a rigorous examination of human health effects from wildfire exposure has remained a relative unstudied topic in forest economics.
This paper is a well-structured, well-written, and innovative piece of empirical research to quantify economic cost of health effects associated with wildfire smoke exposure. The paper applies, for the first time, the defensive behavior method to calculate the willingness to pay for a reduction in one wildfire smoke induced symptom day. The use of the defensive behavior method is demonstrated through a case study of individuals exposed to wildfire smoke from one of California's largest wildfires. The paper expands the number of issues relevant to forest management within the widely explored topic of wildfires.
The paper is based on a sound economic theory and represents a competent application of econometric techniques to genuine data on wildfire impacts. The analysis is rooted exceptionally well in economic theory and previous literature and the discussion of the results is particularly insightful. One can expect that the approach outlined in this paper will help the decision makers to improve the efficiency of fire management policies.
The 2014 Prize Selection Committee comprised of: Shashi Kant, Markku Ollikainen and David Newman (chair).
Thanks to the support of Sören Wibe's family, Elsevier, and the Department of Forest Economics at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the prize winners will receive a cash amount of EUR 2 000, and are invited to give a lecture at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.