Time equals money? Valuing ecosystem-based adaptation in a developing country context

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To guide investments in ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) in developing countries, numerous stated preference valuation studies have been implemented to assess the value of ecosystem services. These studies increasingly use time payments as an alternative to money. There is limited knowledge, however, about how to convert time to money and how the type of payment affects willingness to pay (WTP). In this study, the results of choice experiments using time and money payments are compared in the context of EbA measures in Vietnam. Six, of which five individual-specific, conversion rates are applied. WTP estimates are found to be higher for time payments. Moreover, the type of payment vehicle as well as the conversion rate has substantial effect on mean WTP and WTP distributions. We discuss implications of these results for the conversion of time to money and the use of resulting WTP estimates in cost benefit analyses in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-508
JournalEnvironment and Development Economics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


We are grateful for funding for the ResilNam Urban and ResilNam Coastal projects from the Global Resilience Partnership through the Water Window and funding from NWO-WOTRO through the Urbanising Deltas of the World programme, project number W07.69.206. We also thank participants of the 25 Ulvön Conference and Workshop on Non-Market Valuation in Ulvön, 19–21 June 2018, for useful comments and suggestions. Thanks also to our project partners, Potsdam University and CSRD, and the students from Hu University, for the fruitful collaboration and participation in the data collection activities. Finally, we thank two anonymous reviewers for suggestions and comments. th

FundersFunder number


    • discrete choice experiments
    • ecosystem-based adaptation
    • environmental valuation
    • monetary payment vehicle
    • time payment vehicle
    • willingness-to-pay


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