Information and Wildlife Valuation: Experiments and Policy
An experiment involving 204 residents of Brisbane, Australia is outlined and the results are reported and analysed. Two consecutive surveys of the respondents provide data about their stated knowledge of 23 wildlife species present in tropical Australia, many of which exclusively occur there. In addition, these surveys provide data about the willingness of respondents to pay for the conservation of those species belonging to three taxa: reptiles, mammals, and birds. The respondents’ stated knowledge of the species is compared with their willingness to pay for species’ conservation, and relevant inferences are drawn. When the respondents’ knowledge of the species is experimentally increased in a balanced way, it is found to result in more dispersion (greater discrimination) in respondents’ willingness to contribute to conservation of the different wildlife species in the set considered. A set of factors likely to be important in influencing individuals’ support for the conservation of wildlife species is identified and there is critical comment on recent valuation literature. Both theoretical and policy conclusions are drawn from the results.
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