Convergent Validity of Satellite and Secchi Disk Measures of Water Clarity in Hedonic Models

David Wolf and Thomas Kemp


Budget-constrained environmental agencies across the United States are limited in their ability to monitor water quality changes using traditional in situ sampling. Satellite-based monitoring systems represent a lower-cost alternative. It is unclear, however, how this transition will impact nonmarket valuation estimates of perceived water quality. To answer this question, we merge housing information with Secchi depth and satellite estimates of water clarity from over 100 lakes in Wisconsin. A comparison of hedonic price functions reveals satellite estimates of water clarity provide a stronger statistical fit of housing price and produce implicit prices up to 11% larger in magnitude.


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