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Value of information and decision pathways: Concepts and case studies



Pierre Glynn, Charles Rhodes, Scott Chiavacci, Jennifer Helgeson, Carl Shapiro, Crista Straub


Information plays a key role in the policy decision-making process – but the collection and dissemination of information carries costs. Understanding how these costs compare to the benefits of having the information (this is the value of information: "VOI") can be useful to data generators and decision makers. We explore how information (e.g., geospatial information) is valued and incorporated in policy decisions related to managing natural resources, environments, and the impacts of natural hazards. We first discuss the nature of information and how it relates to models and economic analyses. We then summarize VOI approaches and the behavioral factors that affect the use of information and how it is valued by individuals and society. We follow with a framing of information and VOI in the context of "data to decision pathways" (DDPs), illustrating the benefits of information as well as the human and societal challenges encountered in valuing and using it. We present approaches to overcoming these challenges, and conclude with a summary of critical issues affecting DDPs and VOI, along with suggestions for improving both economic analyses and the actionability and use of information in decision making.
Frontiers in Environmental Science


VOI, value of information, decision pathways, biases, geospatial, natural hazards, natural resources, environmental risks


Glynn, P. , Rhodes, C. , Chiavacci, S. , Helgeson, J. , Shapiro, C. and Straub, C. (2022), Value of information and decision pathways: Concepts and case studies, Frontiers in Environmental Science, [online],, (Accessed June 16, 2024)


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Created May 20, 2022, Updated November 29, 2022