Contingent valuation of natural resources: a case study for Sicily
In this paper we use the Contingent Evaluation methodology to develop an economic evaluation of natural resources in a protected marine area of Sicily. Assuming a non-Normal distribution for the ML estimation, the paper shows that a variant of the stochastic utility model appears to capture well the dependence of the willingness to pay (WTP) on the socioeconomic characteristics of a sample of stakeholders of the natural resources in question. The estimates obtained are consistent and robust across different policy measures, no embedding or sequencing effects emerge and option values appear also to have been elicited in a consistent way. Once these values are added to the basic WTP, the income elasticities estimated fall in the range reported by other studies.
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