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Using attitudinal data to identify latent classes that vary in their preference for landscape preservation


  • Morey, Edward
  • Thiene, Mara
  • De Salvo, Maria
  • Signorello, Giovanni


The likelihood of significant heterogeneity in preferences for landscape preservation should be accounted for when designing WTP questions, estimating WTP, and formulating resulting policy recommendations. Herein, heterogeneity in preferences for landscape preservation is investigated in the context of a latent-class model under the assumption of the existence of some finite number of preference classes/groups. The number of classes is estimated, so few restrictions are placed on the form of the heterogeneity. One estimates the probability that individual i belongs to class c where these probabilities are a function of observable characteristics of the individual (covariates); this is much more flexible than assuming, for example, that all farmers have the same preferences. This paper aims to identify preference classes for landscape preservation in the Ibleo, a rural and beautiful part of Sicily. Estimation of classes is performed using only attitudinal data consisting of answers to Likert-scale questions about the importance of preservation and why the respondent thinks preservation is, or is not, important. Summarizing the results, estimation indicates four distinct preference classes. The classes vary in the level of importance attached to preservation and the motivation for preservation (e.g. use vs. non-use motivations), and include one group that has little interest in preservation.

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  • Morey, Edward & Thiene, Mara & De Salvo, Maria & Signorello, Giovanni, 2008. "Using attitudinal data to identify latent classes that vary in their preference for landscape preservation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1-2), pages 536-546, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2008:i:1-2:p:536-546

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. William Breffle & Edward Morey & Jennifer Thacher, 2011. "A Joint Latent-Class Model: Combining Likert-Scale Preference Statements With Choice Data to Harvest Preference Heterogeneity," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 50(1), pages 83-110, September.
    2. Stephane Hess & Nesha Beharry-Borg, 2012. "Accounting for Latent Attitudes in Willingness-to-Pay Studies: The Case of Coastal Water Quality Improvements in Tobago," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 52(1), pages 109-131, May.
    3. Meyerhoff, Jurgen & Bartczak, Anna & Liebe, Ulf, 2012. "Protester or non-protester: a binary state? on the use (and non-use) of latent class models to analyse protesting in economic valuation," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 56(3), September.
    4. Tabi, Andrea & del Saz-Salazar, Salvador, 2015. "Environmental damage evaluation in a willingness-to-accept scenario: A latent-class approach based on familiarity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 280-288.
    5. Saverio Miccoli & Fabrizio Finucci & Rocco Murro, 2014. "Social Evaluation Approaches in Landscape Projects," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(11), pages 1-15, November.
    6. Tagliafierro, C. & Boeri, M. & Longo, A. & Hutchinson, W.G., 2016. "Stated preference methods and landscape ecology indicators: An example of transdisciplinarity in landscape economic valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 11-22.
    7. Kloos, Julia & Tsegai, Daniel W., 2009. "Preferences for domestic water services in the Middle Olifants sub-basin of South Africa," Discussion Papers 49970, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    8. De Ayala Bilbao, Amaya & Hoyos Ramos, David & Mariel Chladkova, Petr, 2012. "Landscape valuation through discrete choice experiments: Current practice and future research reflections," BILTOKI Biltoki;2012-03, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Economía Aplicada III (Econometría y Estadística).
    9. Greiner, Romy, 2015. "Motivations and attitudes influence farmers' willingness to participate in biodiversity conservation contracts," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 154-165.
    10. Maria Cunha-e-Sá & Lívia Madureira & Luis Nunes & Vladimir Otrachshenko, 2012. "Protesting and Justifying: A Latent Class Model for Contingent Valuation with Attitudinal Data," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 52(4), pages 531-548, August.
    11. Garrod, Guy & Ruto, Eric & Willis, Ken & Powe, Neil, 2012. "Heterogeneity of preferences for the benefits of Environmental Stewardship: A latent-class approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 104-111.


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