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The effect of individual ‘ability to choose’ (scale heterogeneity) on the valuation of environmental goods

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  • Christie, Mike
  • Gibbons, James

Abstract

Environmental valuation methods, such as choice experiments, are increasingly being used to value complex and often unfamiliar environmental goods. A potential risk is that some survey respondents may not be capable of developing and expressing preferences for such goods. The noise from these individuals may then conceal the well-defined preferences of other respondents and affect valuation estimates. We address this problem by estimating a range of models that accounts for scale heterogeneity (which we interpret as a respondent's ability to choose: ATC) and taste heterogeneity. These models are applied to two case studies: amenity from coastal defence and biodiversity. In both case studies, model fit was improved in a scale-heterogeneity multinomial-logit (S-MNL) model (compared to a standard MNL model) suggesting the accounting for ATC (scale heterogeneity) improved preference revelation. A mixed multinomial-logit (MIXL) model outperformed the S-MNL model suggesting that accounting for taste heterogeneity was also important. However, a generalised multinomial-logit (G-MNL) model improved model fit over the MIXL model only for the biodiversity data suggesting that for these data both taste heterogeneity and ATC were important. We conclude that accounting for ATC can improve the reliability and robustness of the results when valuing complex or unfamiliar environmental goods.

Suggested Citation

  • Christie, Mike & Gibbons, James, 2011. "The effect of individual ‘ability to choose’ (scale heterogeneity) on the valuation of environmental goods," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(12), pages 2250-2257.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:12:p:2250-2257
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.07.011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lew, Daniel K. & Wallmo, Kristy, 2017. "Temporal stability of stated preferences for endangered species protection from choice experiments," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 87-97.
    2. Czajkowski, Mikolaj & Hanley, Nicholas & Nyborg, Karine, 2014. "Social norms, morals and self-interest as determinants of pro-environment behaviour," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2014-06, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
    3. Kragt, Marit Ellen, 2013. "Comparing models of unobserved heterogeneity in environmental choice experiments," Working Papers 144447, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    4. Anna Bartczak & Jürgen Meyerhoff, 2012. "Valuing the chances of survival of two distinct Eurasian lynx populations in Poland – do people want to keep doors open?," Working Papers 2012-14, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    5. Mikołaj Czajkowski & Nick Hanley & Jacob LaRiviere, 2016. "Controlling for the Effects of Information in a Public Goods Discrete Choice Model," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 63(3), pages 523-544, March.
    6. Christie, Mike & Fazey, Ioan & Cooper, Rob & Hyde, Tony & Kenter, Jasper O., 2012. "An evaluation of monetary and non-monetary techniques for assessing the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services to people in countries with developing economies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 67-78.
    7. Ulf Liebe & Jürgen Meyerhoff & Volkmar Hartje, 2012. "Test–Retest Reliability of Choice Experiments in Environmental Valuation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 53(3), pages 389-407, November.
    8. Tobias Börger, 2016. "Are Fast Responses More Random? Testing the Effect of Response Time on Scale in an Online Choice Experiment," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 65(2), pages 389-413, October.
    9. Enni Ruokamo & Mikołaj Czajkowski & Nick Hanley & Artti Juutinen & Rauli Svento, 2016. "Linking perceived choice complexity with scale heterogeneity in discrete choice experiments: home heating in Finland," Working Papers 2016-30, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    10. Breeze, T.D. & Bailey, A.P. & Potts, S.G. & Balcombe, K.G., 2015. "A stated preference valuation of the non-market benefits of pollination services in the UK," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 76-85.
    11. John C. Whitehead & Daniel K. Lew, 2016. "Estimating Recreation Benefits through Joint Estimation of Revealed and Stated Preference Discrete Choice Data," Working Papers 16-22, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    12. Jacob LaRiviere & Mikołaj Czajkowski & Nick Hanley & Katherine Simpson, 2015. "What is the Causal Effect of Knowledge on Preferences?," Working Papers 2015-14, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    13. Czajkowski, Mikolaj & Hanley, Nick & LaRiviere, Jacob & Simpson, Katherine, 2014. "What is the Causal Effect of Information and Learning about a Public Good on Willingness to Pay?," SIRE Discussion Papers 2014-009, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    14. Dan Rigby & Michael Burton & Jo Pluske, 2016. "Preference Stability and Choice Consistency in Discrete Choice Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 65(2), pages 441-461, October.
    15. Nick Hanley & Mikolaj Czajkowski, 2016. "What is the Causal Impact of Knowledge on Preferences in Stated Preference Studies?," Discussion Papers in Environment and Development Economics 2016-09, University of St. Andrews, School of Geography and Sustainable Development.
    16. Zander, Kerstin K. & Signorello, Giovanni & De Salvo, Maria & Gandini, Gustavo & Drucker, Adam G., 2013. "Assessing the total economic value of threatened livestock breeds in Italy: Implications for conservation policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 219-229.
    17. Irani, Alexandra & Chalak, Ali, 2015. "Harnessing motorists’ potential demand for hybrid-electric vehicles in Lebanon: Policy options, CO2 emissions reduction and welfare gains," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 144-155.

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