Public perception and valuation of UV health risks in low and high risk countries

Roy Brouwer, Ian J. Bateman, Nick Hanley, Richard Dubourg, Stavros Georgiou, Areti Kontogianni, Fernando Machado, Susana Mourato, Caroline Saunders, Michalis S. Skourtos, Emma Tompkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper is concerned with valuing the health risks of sun exposure due to ultra violet (UV) radiation. The study's main objective is to assess the public perception and valuation of UV health risks in countries in which the scientifically established risk levels are significantly different. Using a multi-country survey, we investigate the relationships between risk awareness, perception, behaviour and willingness to pay for risk reductions. These risk reduction premia are evaluated both for a private good (a new sun protection product) and a public good (a global fund for reducing global emissions of stratospheric ozone-depleting substances). We find that public awareness of risks is highest in New Zealand. Interestingly, the health effects of sunbathing are perceived as more detrimental in South Europe (Portugal and Greece) than in North Europe (England and Scotland), even though the actual risks are higher in the latter. We furthermore find that a substantial market exists for higher protection sunscreens, as evidenced by willingness to pay in the private good case. These willingness to pay amounts can be fairly well explained using a model incorporating both exogenous risk factors and risk-reducing behaviour. In terms of the public good, the policy message, which emerges is that public willingness to contribute to the Multilateral Fund established under the Montreal Protocol is highly variable across the countries studied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39
Number of pages1
JournalWorking Paper - Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment
Issue number1-5
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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