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Do U.S. Anglers Care about Harmful Algal Blooms? A Discrete Choice Experiment of Lake Erie Recreational Anglers

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  • Wendong Zhang
  • Brent Sohngen

Abstract

Despite the growing awareness of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the United States and abroad, estimates of welfare losses due to their presence are missing from the literature. Using a mail survey of 767 Ohio Lake Erie recreational angler respondents and a choice experiment, this study provides the first empirical quantification of the economic impacts of HABs on U.S. recreational anglers. Our results demonstrate a significant and substantial willingness to pay by anglers for reduction in HABs, beyond the benefits associated with conventional water quality measures such as catch rates and water clarity. For instance, we find that anglers are willing to pay $8 to $10 more per trip for one less mile of boating through HABs en route to a fishing site. This finding suggests that explicit measures of HABs need to be collected and considered when valuing water quality in nutrient-rich bodies of water. We evaluate the welfare improvements resulting from several nutrient reduction policies, and find that anglers are willing to pay on average $40 to $60 per trip for a policy that cuts upstream phosphorus loadings by 40%. The majority of welfare gains for anglers result from improving the non-catchable component of the fishing experience, notably water clarity and HAB reduction, as opposed to better chances of angler success.

Suggested Citation

  • Wendong Zhang & Brent Sohngen, 2018. "Do U.S. Anglers Care about Harmful Algal Blooms? A Discrete Choice Experiment of Lake Erie Recreational Anglers," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 100(3), pages 868-888.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:100:y:2018:i:3:p:868-888.
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    Cited by:

    1. Liu, Hongxing & Zhang, Wendong & Irwin, Elena G. & Kast, Jeffrey & Aloysius, Noel & Martin, Jay & Kalcic, Margaret, 2018. "Best Management Practices and Nutrient Reduction: An Integrated Economic-Hydrological Model of the Western Lake Erie Basin," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274426, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Chen, Wei & Wolf, David M. & Gopalakrishnan, Sathya & Haab, Timothy C. & Klaiber, Allen, 2018. "The Impact of HABs on Recreational Visits to Lake Erie," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274026, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Walsh, Sharon & O'Shea, Eamon & Pierse, Tom & Kennelly, Brendan & Keogh, Fiona & Doherty, Edel, 2020. "Public preferences for home care services for people with dementia: A discrete choice experiment on personhood," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 245(C).
    4. Weng, Weizhe & Boyle, Kevin J. & Farrell, Kaitlin J. & Carey, Cayelan C. & Cobourn, Kelly M. & Dugan, Hilary A. & Hanson, Paul C. & Ward, Nicole K. & Weathers, Kathleen C., 2020. "Coupling Natural and Human Models in the Context of a Lake Ecosystem: Lake Mendota, Wisconsin, USA," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Choice experiment; discrete choice; generalized multinomial logit model; harmful algal bloom; Lake Erie; non-market valuation; recreational angler; recreation demand; survey; water quality;

    JEL classification:

    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment

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