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Motives behind willingness to pay for improving biodiversity in a water ecosystem: Economics, ethics and social psychology

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  • Spash, Clive L.
  • Urama, Kevin
  • Burton, Rob
  • Kenyon, Wendy
  • Shannon, Peter
  • Hill, Gary

Abstract

This paper reports on empirical work extending the standard economic approach to valuation by including psychological and philosophical factors. More specifically a contingent valuation method survey was applied to biodiversity improvement while simultaneously assessing rights based beliefs, consequentialism and the theory of planned behaviour. The latter was assessed using measures of attitudes, subjective norms and perceptions of control over willingness to pay. The results show that standard socio-economic explanatory variables are far inferior to those of social psychology and philosophy, and that these factors offer a better understanding of the motives behind responses to contingent valuation. The implication is that alternative means of measuring an individual's pluralistic values should be taken into account in order to assess the validity and meaning of willingness to pay.

Suggested Citation

  • Spash, Clive L. & Urama, Kevin & Burton, Rob & Kenyon, Wendy & Shannon, Peter & Hill, Gary, 2009. "Motives behind willingness to pay for improving biodiversity in a water ecosystem: Economics, ethics and social psychology," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 955-964, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:4:p:955-964
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Spash, Clive L. & Hanley, Nick, 1995. "Preferences, information and biodiversity preservation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 191-208, March.
    2. Kahneman, Daniel & Ritov, Ilana & Schkade, David A, 1999. "Economic Preferences or Attitude Expressions?: An Analysis of Dollar Responses to Public Issues," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 203-235, December.
    3. Pouta, Eija, 2004. "Attitude and belief questions as a source of context effect in a contingent valuation survey," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 229-242, April.
    4. Ajzen, Icek & Brown, Thomas C. & Rosenthal, Lori H., 1996. "Information Bias in Contingent Valuation: Effects of Personal Relevance, Quality of Information, and Motivational Orientation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 43-57, January.
    5. Arild Vatn, 2004. "Environmental Valuation and Rationality," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 80(1), pages 1-18.
    6. O'Connor, Martin, 2000. "Pathways for environmental evaluation: a walk in the (Hanging) Gardens of Babylon," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 175-193, August.
    7. Spash, Clive L., 2000. "Ecosystems, contingent valuation and ethics: the case of wetland re-creation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 195-215, August.
    8. Clive L. Spash, 2006. "Non-Economic Motivation for Contingent Values: Rights and Attitudinal Beliefs in the Willingness To Pay for Environmental Improvements," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 82(4), pages 602-622.
    9. Spash, Clive L., 2002. "Informing and forming preferences in environmental valuation: Coral reef biodiversity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 665-687, October.
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