Estimating the supply of on-farm biodiversity conservation services by north Australian pastoralists: design of a choice experiment
This paper reports on the experimental design process and considerations of a discretecontinuous choice experiment conducted in collaboration with landholders in northern Australia. The purpose of the research is to inform the design of effective and efficient payments-for-ecosystem services schemes to safeguard north Australia’s biodiversity values by promoting the contractual provision of biodiversity conservation services by landholders, in particular pastoralists and graziers. The paper focusses in particular on the discrete choice experimental (DCE) aspects. The DCE is employed to estimate landholders’ preference heterogeneity for supplying ecosystem services, specifically their willingness to accept remuneration for the on-farm conservation of biodiversity, based on potential program attributes. The design of the choice experiment draws on best practice standards (Hoyos 2010), a recognition of the benefits of embedding design in a consultative process (Klojgaard et al. 2012) and recent advances in accounting for response certainty (Brouwer et al. 2010; Hensher et al. 2012). DCE design decisions relating to attribute selection, attribute levels, alternatives and choice tasks are explained based on literature, focus group discussions, expert interviews and an iterative process of efficient DCE design. Additional design aspects include (i) a set of supplementary questions after each choice set to measure respondents’ choice certainty and elicit decision heuristics; (ii) embedding of the experiment in a socio-economic-psychological questionnaire, and (iii) logistical design.
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