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Beach Recreationalists' Willingness to Pay and Economic Implications of Coastal Water Quality Problems in Hawaii

Marcus Peng and Kirsten L.L. Oleson

Ecological Economics, 2017, vol. 136, issue C, 41-52

Abstract: The economic value of water quality is poorly understood in Hawaii. Quantifying the economic value of coastal water quality would inform policy decisions that impact the coast and help justify expenditures in water quality improvements. We conducted a non-market valuation of beach recreationalists’ preferences and willingness to pay for water quality and associated attributes at Oahu beaches. Using a discrete choice experiment analyzed by a conditional logit model, results suggest individuals were willing to pay $11.43 per day at the beach to reduce days of bacterial exceedance from 11 to 5 per year, a further $30.72 to reduce it to no bacterial exceedances at all. WTP to move from 15 ft to 30 ft of underwater visibility was $35.71, a further $14.80 to increase from 30 ft to 60 ft. Respondents were also willing to pay $15.33 to improve coral reef cover from 10% to 25%, a further $4.89 to improve to 45% cover. WTP for moving from 9 fish species to 18 species was $7.14, a further $2.47 to increase that to 27 fish species. These environmental improvements can improve Oahu recreationalists’ welfare by $205 million, $550 million, $639 million, $265 million, $274 million, $88 million, $128 million, and $44 million per year, respectively. Welfare gains may justify increased spending in management and restoration of coastal ecosystems.

Keywords: Non-market valuation; Discrete choice experiment; Water quality; Underwater visibility; Coral reefs; Fish diversity; Beach recreation; Oahu; Hawaii (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:136:y:2017:i:c:p:41-52