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Measuring the economic value of urban river restoration

Dan Dai, Roy Brouwer and Kun Lei

Ecological Economics, 2021, vol. 190, issue C

Abstract: Rivers are under enormous threat worldwide and large amounts of money are invested in river restoration. Contrary to the costs, the benefits of river restoration are much harder to quantify. In this study, the benefits of restoring different sections of the Yongding River in Beijing, China, are estimated through a discrete choice experiment (DCE). Place attachment is measured by sampling residents upstream and downstream and using the river sections as labelled alternatives in the DCE. As expected, the improvement of water quality is valued highly by all river basin residents, and place attachment and spatial preference heterogeneity play a significant role in public willingness to pay (WTP) for river restoration. Although respondents are willing to give up only a small share of their disposable income, public WTP for improved river water quality is a factor 2 to 4 higher than the current household water bill. These findings provide important guidance for the recovery of the investment costs associated with river restoration projects.

Keywords: Discrete choice experiment; Urban river restoration; Place attachment; Spatial preference heterogeneity; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107186

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