The Stated Preference methods course succeeded again this year in attracting a full roster of students. Thirteen participants from universities in Norway, France, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom came to learn the theory and practice of non-market valuation.
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Stated Preference Methods are a set of tools that can assess the social welfare implications of public policies, and have particular usefulness in evaluating environmental policies. Focusing on the application of current techniques, students spent a significant amount of time applying course materials using the open source software R. Two of the days covered contingent valuation and three days covered choice experiment methods.

Deema AlmeziadDeema Almeziad, a first year PhD student and course participant from the University of St. Andrews, spoke with CERE to give her thoughts about the intensive week of lecture. The Stated Preferences course comes at just the right time for Deema, who will soon design a discrete choice experiment for her own empirical thesis work. Her project will evaluate preferences for wind, fracking, and nuclear energy sources in the UK while considering geographical differences in preferences. - The depth and quality of the course was as I expected: difficult. But the method of delivering the information made difficult material seem easier. We are lucky to have these instructors, says Deema.

It is Deemas first time in Scandinavia, but it definitely won’t be her last. She continues: - I think it is a privilege to study and work in other places; it gives you the flexibility to be familiar with more than just one system. I got my undergraduate degree from King Saud University, Saudi Arabia my masters from the University of Birmingham, England and now doing a PhD at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. It is great to take this course here because I try to be diverse in the experiences I pursue and take a bit from everywhere as much as I can.

Bengt o ErlendThis year professor Bengt Kriström taught the course along with SLU/CERE post-doc Erlend Dancke Sandorf, an alumnus of the 2013 course. Erlend also took the Stated Preferences course near the beginning of his PhD studies and had the following reflections on co-teaching the course:

“The stated preference methods course in 2013 was my first rigorous introduction to the subject matter. In the following years I spent most of my time working with stated preferences and advanced discrete choice models. Coming back to SLU and Umeå for my post doc gave me the opportunity to co-teach the course that was the beginning for me. This was challenging, but extremely interesting, and I hope that this year’s participants enjoyed it as much as I did.”

The stated preferences course took place on May 8-12 at SLU Umeå and is typically offered every May. Registration usually opens early in the spring term. A link to this and other course offerings at the department of forest economics at SLU can be found here.