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The Role of Ethnicity and Language in Contingent Valuation Analysis

John Loomis, Lindsey Ellingson, Armando Gonzalez‐Caban and Andrew Seidl ()

American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 2006, vol. 65, issue 3, 559-586

Abstract: Abstract. In order to satisfy legal requirements, many federal agencies must assess the potential effects of their policies on the public. This is often done through surveys, but frequently those surveys are only administered in English. This paper tests whether there are differences in survey response rates, refusals to pay, and willingness to pay (WTP) across different ethnicities and language for forest fire reduction in the State of California. The ethnicities studied were Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic (half in Spanish, half in English). There was a statistical difference in survey response rates across all ethnicities, and no statistical difference among ethnicities for reasons of refusing to pay. The influence of ethnicity and language was tested using a logit model with ethnicity intercepts and bid slope interaction terms. The Hispanic‐Spanish intercept shifter and the Hispanic‐English dollar bid amount interaction terms were statistically significant and positive. There was a significant difference in the logit willingness to pay coefficients between Hispanics surveyed in Spanish with each of the other ethnicities. The annual willingness to pay of Hispanics taking the survey in Spanish was twice that of Caucasians, but no statistical difference in mean and median WTP between these two groups was found, due to large confidence intervals around each estimate. Nonetheless, the WTP of both Hispanics and Caucasians for the forest thinning program is substantial, and statistically different from zero, suggesting there may be broad support for this program in California.

Date: 2006
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