Political affiliation and willingness to pay: An examination of the nature of benefits and means of provision
Non-market techniques are widely used for valuing environmental goods and services. Recent articles obtain results showing respondents to the right of the political spectrum are significantly less likely to vote in favour of environmental programs that provide public goods through public means. In consequence, their WTP is lower than that of individuals on the political left. We examine whether WTP differs systematically in accordance with political affiliation by using data from three stated preference surveys. We obtain results similar to the previous literature from only one survey. Our other two surveys employ different contexts that change the nature of the benefits from the good and/or its provision mechanism. The first of these finds no significant differences in WTP by respondent political affiliation and the second finds that respondents on the right of the political spectrum have statistically higher WTPs for a good when it is privately provided than under collective provision. Our results provide further support that context matters and that preferences elicited from surveys for environmental goods are not necessarily independent of the means by which the good is provided.
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