Social factors influencing the decision to pay for the protection of biodiversity: A case study in two national parks of Northern Greece
The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of social factors (expressed as social norms, institutional and social trust and social networks) on the decision of individuals to pay for the protection of biodiversity. For this purpose an empirical study was carried out in two National Parks of Northern Greece. Three scenarios were proposed differing on the payment mechanism and the management actors (regulatory, market-based and community-based scenarios). Our empirical results show that social capital variables, especially social norms and social trust, have a strong influence both on the decision of individuals to pay and the specific amount stated. Specifically, we find that social norms have a positive influence for the willingness to pay (WTP) of individuals of a state-tax and an entrance fee (regulatory and market-based scenario respectively). Furthermore, social trust has a positive impact for the WTP through an entrance fee and a community tax (market-based and community-based scenario respectively). We also find a higher WTP of individuals towards the market based scenario where participation of citizens is higher compared to the current management status. Concerning the impact of demographic factors, we find that income does not influence the specific amount stated by individuals.
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