Stated Preference Valuation Using Real Money for Real Forested WetlandsEPA Grant Number: R825307
Title: Stated Preference Valuation Using Real Money for Real Forested Wetlands
Investigators: Swallow, Stephen K. , Paton, Peter
Current Investigators: Swallow, Stephen K.
Institution: University of Rhode Island
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: October 15, 1996 through October 14, 1998 (Extended to December 31, 2001)
Project Amount: $165,081
RFA: Decision-Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy (1996) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice
The project will develop a quantitative model of public preferences for forested wetland attributes in southern New England by integrating methods from resource and environmental economics and experimental economics with knowledge from landscape ecology and conservation biology. The objectives are: (1) to identify critical ecosystem attributes, of forested wetlands, that contribute to ecological quality and to the quality of life; (2) to develop a model of public preferences for alternative attributes of wetlands in southern New England, using Rhode Island as a case study; and (3) to estimate money-measures of value for wetland ecosystem attributes by a survey method which calibrates hypothetical dollar values to real-dollar values. The study will use a contingent choice survey which asks respondents to evaluate characteristics of two wetland parcels and identify which parcel they would prefer to preserve. An empirical model will predict the likelihood that a respondent favors preservation of a particular parcel. Money-measures of value will be estimated using: (1) survey questions based on hypothetical" dollar-costs to respondents, and (2) questions in which respondents must back up their stated preferences by payment of real money. Results will provide federal, state, and local agencies and non-profit conservation organizations with a means to assess public preferences for wetland preservation programs. Results will demonstrate the calibration of "hypothetical" money-measures of public benefits to "real" money-measures in the context actual, complex environmental goods (wetlands) with a variety of ecological attributes. The research strives to produce a method by which policy analysts may develop real-money measures of value for critical ecological attributes and open space lands. The method begins by estimating real-money values for one class of ecological resources, namely wetland attributes. Given these values, and results from a traditional hypothetical-money survey, the method allows translation of hypothetical-money values to real-money values for wetland attributes for which only hypothetical-money values were previously available. Stated simply, this translation would depend on a proportionality factor for the number of hypothetical-dollars that may be considered equivalent to a real-dollar. In practice, of course, the translation method may require consideration of non-linearities created by substitution effects among ecological attributes.