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Too poor to be green consumers? A field experiment on revealed preferences for firewood in rural Guatemala

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  • van Kempen, Luuk
  • Muradian, Roldan
  • Sandóval, César
  • Castañeda, Juan-Pablo

Abstract

The paper reports on a field experiment that investigates whether households in Guatemala are willing to surrender a small material gain in order to buy legal rather than illegal firewood. Given the ineffectiveness of command-and-control policies to curb the problem of illegal logging in Guatemala, the experiment assesses the potential viability of market-oriented solutions. Local consumers in developing countries are generally believed to be too poor to pay a premium for green/ethical products. Therefore, little information has been gathered on willingness-to-pay (WTP) for such products and its determinants in non-affluent consumer markets. While our experiment on firewood consumption in central Guatemala only implies a weak and indirect test of WTP for green products, the results indicate that it is premature, if not unwarranted, to assume that the poor are not ready to make pro-ethical choices in the marketplace. Moreover, we find that information on the legal procedures for firewood extraction significantly affects consumer choice between legal and illegal firewood.

Suggested Citation

  • van Kempen, Luuk & Muradian, Roldan & Sandóval, César & Castañeda, Juan-Pablo, 2009. "Too poor to be green consumers? A field experiment on revealed preferences for firewood in rural Guatemala," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 2160-2167, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:7:p:2160-2167
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Van Rijsbergen, Bart & D’Exelle, Ben, 2013. "Delivery Care in Tanzania: A Comparative Analysis of Use and Preferences," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 276-287.
    2. Lin, Yu-Hsuan & Kim, KyungJa, 2017. "Willingness to Pay for Government-Certified Agri-Products in South Korea," MPRA Paper 84100, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Aguilar, Francisco X. & Cai, Zhen, 2010. "Conjoint effect of environmental labeling, disclosure of forest of origin and price on consumer preferences for wood products in the US and UK," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 308-316, December.
    4. Hallstein, Eric & Villas-Boas, Sofia B., 2013. "Can household consumers save the wild fish? Lessons from a sustainable seafood advisory," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 52-71.
    5. Brouhle, Keith & Khanna, Madhu, 2012. "Determinants of participation versus consumption in the Nordic Swan eco-labeled market," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 142-151.
    6. Curtis Holder & Gregory Chase, 2012. "The role of remittances and decentralization of forest management in the sustainability of a municipal-communal pine forest in eastern Guatemala," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 25-43, February.
    7. repec:eee:jouret:v:90:y:2014:i:2:p:255-274 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Arabatzis, Garyfallos & Kitikidou, Kyriaki & Tampakis, Stilianos & Soutsas, Konstantinos, 2012. "The fuelwood consumption in a rural area of Greece," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(9), pages 6489-6496.

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