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Does Respondent Perception of the Status Quo Matter in Non-Market Valuation with Choice Experiments? An Application to New Zealand Freshwater Streams

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Author Info

  • Dan Marsh

    ()
    (University of Waikato)

  • Lena Mkwara

    ()
    (University of Waikato)

  • Riccardo Scarpa

    ()
    (University of Waikato)

Abstract

In environmental valuation studies with stated preference methods, researchers often provide descriptions of status quo conditions which may differ from those perceived by respondents. Ignoring this difference in utility baselines may affect the magnitude of utility changes and hence bias the implied estimates of benefits from the proposed environmental policies. We investigate this issue using data from a choice experiment on a community’s willingness to pay for water quality improvements in streams. More than 60 percent of respondents perceived the description of the quality of water in streams to be better than the one we provided in our scenario. Our results show that respondents who could provide details of their perception of the status quo displayed stronger preferences for water quality improvements - hence a higher marginal willingness to pay - than their counterparts. Respondents who opted for their own status quo description displayed a higher inclination to remain in the status quo, while their counterparts displayed the contrary. We argue this might be linked to the amount of knowledge each group displayed about the status quo: a kind of reluctance to leave what one knows well.

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File URL: ftp://mngt.waikato.ac.nz/RePEc/wai/econwp/1004.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Waikato, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 10/04.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 15 Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:10/04

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Keywords: choice experiments; fixed status quo; people’s perceived status quo; status quo effect; willingness to pay.;

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Cited by:
  1. Marsh, Dan & Mkwara, Lena Asimenye & Scarpa, Riccardo, 2010. "Does respondent’s perceived knowledge of the status quo affect attribute attendance and WTP in choice experiments? Evidence from the Karapiro Catchment Freshwater streams," 2010 Conference, August 26-27, 2010, Nelson, New Zealand 96809, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.

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