Do Native and Invasive Labels Affect Consumer Willingness to Pay for Plants? Evidence from Experimental Auctions
The ultimate objective of commercial horticultural activities is to satisfy the needs of the final consumer. Consumer demand for novel plants drives the ornamental plant industry. Therefore, dispersal of native and invasive horticultural plants can be understood by considering the decisions/choices of consumers who decide which plants to purchase from retailers. In contrast to previous studies on invasive and native plants, this study uses an experimental auction to elicit consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for labeled native and invasive attributes. Results from a censored random effect model show that consumers’ WTP for plants decreases when the plants are labeled as invasive and increases when plants are labeled as native. The study finds that consumers discount an invasive attribute more for native than for non-native plants. Consumers’ sociodemographics and attitudes—age, income, gender, concern about environment, interest in plant quality, ease of care and sensitivity to price—significantly alter consumer’s WTP for native and invasive attributes. The implications of this study are notable given the consumers’ increasing concern about the environment and recent debate over sustainable labeling of plants by the horticulture industry.
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