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Do Respondents’ Perceptions of the Status Quo Matter in Non-Market Valuation with Choice Experiments? An Application to New Zealand Freshwater Streams

Author

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  • Dan Marsh

    () (Department of Economics, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand)

  • Lena Mkwara

    () (Department of Economics, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand)

  • Riccardo Scarpa

    () (Department of Economics, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand
    Center for the Study of Choice, University of Technology, Sydney, P.O. Box 123, Broadway NSW 2007, Australia
    Adjunct professor at School of Natural Resources, University of Western Australia, Perth WA 6009, Australia)

Abstract

Many issues relating to the sustainability of environmental resource use are informed by environmental valuation studies with stated preference surveys. Within these, researchers often provide descriptions of status quo conditions which may differ from those perceived by respondents. Ignoring this difference in utility baselines may affect the magnitude of estimated utility changes and hence bias benefit estimates of proposed environmental policies. We investigate this issue using data from a choice experiment on a community’s willingness to pay for water quality improvements in streams. More than 60% of respondents perceived streams’ water quality at the status quo to be better than the description we provided in our scenario. Results show that respondents who could provide details of their perception of the status quo displayed stronger preferences for water quality improvements—and hence higher marginal willingness to pay—than their counterparts. However, respondents who referred to their own status quo description displayed a higher inclination to prefer the status quo , while other respondents tended to prefer the proposed improvements. We argue this might be linked to the amount of knowledge each group displayed about the status quo : a kind of reluctance to leave what one believes he/she knows well.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan Marsh & Lena Mkwara & Riccardo Scarpa, 2011. "Do Respondents’ Perceptions of the Status Quo Matter in Non-Market Valuation with Choice Experiments? An Application to New Zealand Freshwater Streams," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(9), pages 1-23, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:9:p:1593-1615:d:14112
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gallardo, R. Karina & Wang, Qianqian, 2013. "Willingness to Pay for Pesticides' Environmental Features and Social Desirability Bias: The Case of Apple and Pear Growers," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 38(1), April.
    2. Chuanwang Sun & Nan Lyu & Xiaoling Ouyang, 2014. "Chinese Public Willingness to Pay to Avoid Having Nuclear Power Plants in the Neighborhood," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(10), pages 1-27, October.
    3. Miller, Sini & Tait, Peter & Saunders, Caroline, 2015. "Estimating indigenous cultural values of freshwater: A choice experiment approach to Māori values in New Zealand," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 207-214.
    4. Dan Marsh & Yvonne Phillips, 2012. "Which Future for the Hurunui? Combining Choice Analysis with Stakeholder Consultation," Working Papers in Economics 12/17, University of Waikato.
    5. Boeri, Marco & Scarpa, Riccardo & Chorus, Caspar G., 2014. "Stated choices and benefit estimates in the context of traffic calming schemes: Utility maximization, regret minimization, or both?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 121-135.
    6. Bruno Lanz & Allan Provins, 2015. "Using discrete choice experiments to regulate the provision of water services: do status quo choices reflect preferences?," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 300-324, June.
    7. Marsh, Dan & Phillips, Yvonne, 2012. "Difficult Choices: What Influences the Error Variance in a Choice Experiment," 2012 Conference, August 31, 2012, Nelson, New Zealand 139651, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    8. Oehlmann, Malte & Meyerhoff, Jürgen & Mariel, Petr & Weller, Priska, 2017. "Uncovering context-induced status quo effects in choice experiments," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 59-73.
    9. repec:eee:ecolec:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:53-65 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Miller, Sini & Tait, Peter & Saunders, Caroline, 2013. "Scarcity Of Canterbury’s Water: Its Multiple, Conflicting Uses," 2013 Conference, August 28-30, 2013, Christchurch, New Zealand 160269, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    11. Oehlmann, Malte & Weller, Priska & Meyerhoff, Jürgen, 2014. "Complexity-induced Status Quo Effects in Discrete Choice Experiments for Environmental Valutation," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100616, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Caputo, Vincenzina & Loo, Ellen J. Van & Scarpa, Riccardo & Nayga, Rodolfo M. Jr & Verbeke, Wim, 2014. "“Using Experiments to Address Attribute Non-attendance in Consumer Food Choices”," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 177173, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    13. Julia Kloos & Niklas Baumert, 2015. "Preventive resettlement in anticipation of sea level rise: a choice experiment from Alexandria, Egypt," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 76(1), pages 99-121, March.
    14. Galassi, Veronica & Madlener, Reinhard, 2016. "Some Like it Hot: The Role of Environmental Concern and Comfort Expectations in Energy Retrofit Decisions," FCN Working Papers 11/2016, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
    15. Phillips, Yvonne, 2012. "Landlords versus tenants: Information asymmetry and mismatched preferences for home energy efficiency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 112-121.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    choice experiments; fixed status quo ; people’s perceived status quo ; status quo effect; willingness to pay;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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