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The Bobolink Project: Selling Public Goods From Ecosystem Services Using Provision Point Mechanisms

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  • Swallow, Stephen K.
  • Anderson, Christopher M.
  • Uchida, Emi

Abstract

We report a two-year field experiment that solicited residents of Jamestown, Rhode Island, USA, to fund contracts with farmers willing to provide public goods associated with improving the nesting success of grassland birds, particularly the Bobolink. This experiment explores the potential to leverage valuation research for the purpose of enhancing charitable contributions in a manner consistent with developing markets for ecosystem-service public goods; we focus on individuals' willingness to contribute revenue. The direct-mail marketing experiment collected over $16,000 through four provision point, money-back guarantee mechanisms: a voluntary contribution mechanism with a proportional rebate; a pivotal mechanism based on the Clarke tax; and two novel uniform price mechanisms, each presented in discrete choice and open-ended response formats. We find that citizens do respond strategically: consistently lower offers in the open-ended format suggest a high incidence of cheap riding, but also a significant effect of higher suggested offer thresholds. These framing effects dominated differences among mechanisms, as revenue generated from the proportional rebate and one of the uniform price mechanisms approached the potential for revenue generation estimated under the incentive compatible pivotal mechanism.

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  • Swallow, Stephen K. & Anderson, Christopher M. & Uchida, Emi, 2018. "The Bobolink Project: Selling Public Goods From Ecosystem Services Using Provision Point Mechanisms," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 236-252.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:143:y:2018:i:c:p:236-252
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2017.06.040
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    Cited by:

    1. Swallow, Stephen K., 2013. "Demand-side Value for Ecosystem Services and Implications for Innovative Markets: Experimental Perspectives on the Possibility of Private Markets for Public Goods," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(01), pages 33-56, April.
    2. Swallow, Stephen K. & Liu, Pengfei & Seabloom, Eric & Borer, Elizabeth, 2013. "A Simple Lesson in Economic Valuation: Do Scientists Value Expanding the Nutrient Network?," Working Paper series 170013, University of Connecticut, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
    3. Li, Zhi & Liu, Pengfei & Swallow, Stephen K., 2017. "Supporting Private Provision of Ecosystem Services through Contracts: Evidence from Lab and Field Experiments," 2018 Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 5-7, 2018, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 266300, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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