Date of Award:

1986

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Economics and Finance

Advisor/Chair:

John E. Keith

Abstract

Early intervention programs for handicapped preschool children may have long-term implications for the children and their families. Economic eva luations of these programs have been conducted to measure costs and bene fit s, but parental wi l lingness-to-pay has been overlooked in these analyses. Parental willingness-to-pay, as a measure of consumer surplus, could complete the measure of benefits and provide both policymakers and practitioners with useful information for decisionmaking. In this study, the impli cations of eliciting willingness-to-pay responses for an early intervention program for handicapped preschoolers are discussed. A survey technique, known as the contingent valuation method (CVM) , is applied to program to empirically estimate wil lin gness-to-pay for the total program and for particular components of the program. Also investigated are the implications of using a rationality test in the survey to determine if consumer responses are in accordance with assumptions for rational consumer behavior. Results indicate relatively high willingness-to-pay for the program as whole, but low value is associated with program components. This implies that parents may value these programs more for the respite rather than specialized services offered. Results of the rationality test support the hypothesis that such a measure is necessary in survey designs of this nature.

Included in

Economics Commons

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