Using Angler Characteristics and Attitudinal Data to Identify Environmental Preference Classes: A Latent-Class Model
A latent-class model of environmental preference groups is developed and estimated with only the answers to a set of attitudinal questions. Economists do not typically use this type of data in estimation. Group membership is latent/unobserved. The intent is to identify and characterize heterogeneity in the preferences for environmental amenities in terms of a small number of preference groups. The application is to preferences over the fishing characteristics of Green Bay. Anglers answered a number of attitudinal questions, including the importance of boat fees, species catch rates, and fish consumption advisories on site choice. The results suggest that Green Bay anglers separate into a small number of distinct classes with varying preferences and willingness to pay for a PCB-free Green Bay. The probability that an angler belongs to each class is estimated as function of observable characteristics of the individual. Estimation is with the expectation–maximization (E–M) algorithm, a technique new to environmental economics that can be used to do maximum-likelihood estimation with incomplete information. As explained, a latent-class model estimated with attitudinal data can be melded with a latent-class choice model. Copyright Springer 2006
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Volume (Year): 34 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (05)
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- Gwendolyn Aldrich & Kristine Grimsrud & Jennifer Thacher & Matthew Kotchen, 2007. "Relating environmental attitudes and contingent values: how robust are methods for identifying preference heterogeneity?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 37(4), pages 757-775, August.
- Elizabeth McClelland, 2001. "Measurement Issues and Validity Tests for Using Attitude Indicators in Contingent Valuation Research," NCEE Working Paper Series 200101, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Nov 2001.
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