The Existence Value of a Distinctive Native American Culture: Survival of the Hopi Reservation

Richard T. Carson, W. Michael Hanemann, Dale Whittington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We measure the value placed by the American public on ensuring the continued existence of the traditional Hopi culture and way of life at the Hopi Reservation in Arizona. The Hopi are the oldest living culture in the United States. The continued existence of the Reservation is threatened by depletion of the groundwater resource underlying the reservation. In the future, without a new source of water, the Hopi will run out of water to support the villages and continue their traditional Hopi agricultural practices. Many Hopi will have to move off the Reservation and give up their traditional culture and way of life. The Reservation will no longer serve as a permanent home for the Hopi Tribe. An expensive pipeline would be required to convey a new source of water to the Reservation, for which the Federal government might pay. The question is: would the expenditure by the federal government to convey water that would ensure the continued existence of the traditional Hopi culture at the Hopi Reservation be justified by the existence value of that culture to the American people? This paper describes the results of a study undertaken to measure that existence value. We show that a simple stated preference design, using only a single monetary amount, is sufficient to provide a bound.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)931-951
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironmental and Resource Economics
Volume75
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

Keywords

  • Aboriginal
  • Contingent valuation
  • Cultural values
  • Indigenous cultures
  • Native American
  • Water supply

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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