A clear night sky is a public good, and as a public good government intervention to regulate it is justifiable. Light pollution decreases the ability to view a clear, unobstructed night sky and can have biological, human health, energy related, and scientific consequences. In order for governments to intervene more effectively, an economic analysis of light pollution with regards to costs and benefits needs to be performed. This thesis demonstrates the use of the contingent valuation method to place an economic value on light pollution. Students in the RIT community were surveyed regarding their willingness to pay for a clear night sky. The mode WTP was $0; consequently the regression analysis focuses on use of the Tobit model. The most significant factors affecting WTP were whether or not the student thought sky glow is a problem on RIT’s campus, how many years the student had been at RIT, the amount of the student’s personal income, and the amount of time the student spent outside on RIT’s campus at night. The results of this research are then applied to policy making at the local, state, and federal level. This research concludes that the contingent valuation method is applicable to the study of light pollution and development of light pollution related policies by local, state and federal policymakers, and the appropriateness of the contingent valuation method is enhanced both when respondents are informed about light pollution and its consequences, as well as with improvements in survey methodology and analysis.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Rochester Institute of Technology--Students--Attitudes; Light pollution--Public opinion--New York (State)--Rochester; Contingent valuation

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Department of Science Technology and Society/Public Policy (CLA)


Gleeson-Hanna, Bridget

Advisor/Committee Member

Howard, Ann

Advisor/Committee Member

Foltz, Franz


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: QB51.3.L53 S46 2007


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