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2011-10-24 | Peer Reviewed

Choice Experiments in Environmental Impact Assessment: The Case of the Toro 3 Hydroelectric Project and the Recreo Verde Tourist Center in Costa Rica

Alpízar, Francisco and Dora Carίas Vega . 2011. “Choice Experiments in Environmental Impact Assessment: The Case of the Toro 3 Hydroelectric Project and the Recreo Verde Tourist Center in Costa Rica.” Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 29:4: 252-262.
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This case study looks at the impacts of the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity’s Toro 3 hydroelectric project and its affects on the Recreo Verde tourism center in San Carlos, Costa Rica.

Choice experiments, a stated preference valuation method, are proposed as a tool to assign monetary values to environmental externalities during the ex ante stages of environmental impact assessment. This case study looks at the impacts of the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity's Toro 3 hydroelectric project and its impacts on the Recreo Verde tourism center in San Carlos, Costa Rica. Compared to other valuation methods (e.g., travel cost and contingent valuation), choice experiments can create hypothetical but realistic scenarios for consumers and generate restoration alternatives for the affected good. Although they have limitations that must be taken into account in environmental impact assessment, incorporating economic parameters (especially resource constraints and tradeoffs) can substantially enrich the assessment process.