Is Choice Modelling Really Necessary? Public versus expert values for marine reserves in Western Australia
One of the motivations for choice modelling is to provide values that can be used to inform decisionmakers about the non-market costs and benefits of proposed projects or policies. However, the question must be asked as to whether decision-makers consider choice modelling to be a policy relevant tool. There may be more cost-effective and convenient means of providing comparable policy guidance than commissioning a choice modelling study. For example, advice on decision options may be sought from experts, such as scientists. However, expert advice may not accurately reflect the value judgements of the public. The aim of this study is to investigate whether public and expert preferences diverge, using the choice modelling technique. Two case studies are utilised – the Ningaloo Marine Park and the proposed Ngari Capes Marine Park in Western Australia. Evidence of both divergence and convergence between public and expert values is found in different instances, with public awareness factors playing a role in this divide. Where preference divergence appears likely, decision-makers should consider choice modelling as a useful tool to inform policy.
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