Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-1-2001


Measuring economic activity associated with the ocean through examination of the goods and services produced by specified industries and in coastal locations will provide answers to many of the most commonly asked questions about the ocean economy. But even this data will still be incomplete. Beyond are a variety of "non-market" values, which are needed to complete the picture. When someone goes to the beach in Florida or boats on Chesapeake Bay, there may be little that is directly purchased on that day. But the popularity of such activities is testament to their underlying value. Economists have developed a variety of techniques to measure such values, and a large number of studies have been done throughout the country using these techniques. The Project intends to compile the results of these studies into the ocean economy database to provide researchers with access to the information that has been generated.

The resulting integrated, web-accessible database will provide as comprehensive a picture as possible of the economic values associated with the ocean. It will provide historical data, and because it is estimated as much as possible on a consistent basis, it can be used to compare these values across time and space. But there will still be important limitations. Requirements to maintain confidentiality of data will require that many smaller geographic areas cannot be described in the same level of detail as larger regions. The surveys of industries conducted by the Census Bureau that underlie the national data and which will be used to disaggregate to the industrial and geographic level will have sampling limitations that will require some indirect estimating techniques. The nonmarket values are estimated using complex techniques that can result in widely varying figures for the same resources.


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