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The impact of information on public preferences for forest biodiversity preservation: a split-sample test with choice experiment method

Elodie Brahic and Tina Rambonilaza ()

Revue d'économie politique, 2015, vol. 125, issue 2, 253-275

Abstract: This paper reconsiders forest biodiversity valuation, and the extent to which information affects the value individuals attach to forest biodiversity attributes. A choice experiment design was applied to the survey protocol. A split-sample technique was then used out to obtain two datasets. The first dataset corresponds to the choices from individuals who responded to the neutral survey protocol. The second dataset was obtained from the same choice sets as for the neutral survey protocol, but the survey used also specific information to respondents on each biodiversity attribute. We then applied the latent class approach to ascertain preference heterogeneity according to respondents? environmental knowledge and sensitiveness to issues of biodiversity. We found that willingness to pay (WTP) values were higher for ?familiar? respondents, i.e., those who make regular use of forests and are more sensitive to biodiversity concerns, as opposed to ?unfamiliar? participants. For the former, giving more information had an influence on choices. For the latter, giving more information increased WTP for preferred biodiversity attribute levels. We then concluded that giving specific information on biodiversity to the public does affect preferences. However, environmental sensitiveness combined with forest use constitutes the main explanatory variables of higher WTP.

Keywords: Choice experiment; Latent class model; non-use value; France (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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