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Testing the Influence of Substitute Sites in Nature Valuation by Using Spatial Discounting Factors

Jeremy Valck (), Steven Broekx, Inge Liekens, Joris Aertsens and Liesbet Vranken ()
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Jeremy Valck: KU Leuven
Steven Broekx: Flemish Institute for Technological Research VITO
Inge Liekens: Flemish Institute for Technological Research VITO
Joris Aertsens: Flemish Institute for Technological Research VITO

Environmental & Resource Economics, 2017, vol. 66, issue 1, 17-43

Abstract: Abstract This paper investigates the effect of nearby nature substitute sites on preferences for nature restoration. Contrary to prior studies, we use a respondent-centric approach to control for substitute sites. We assess each respondent-specific spatial context by computing densities of nature substitute sites within various ranges from each respondent’s home. This approach considers the use and non-use values of nature together. Data from three similar discrete choice experiments carried out in Flanders (Belgium) are compared. Different spatial discounting factors are tested to explore how the substitution effect behaves with regard to distance. Latent class analyses are performed to account for preference heterogeneity among respondents. We observe divergent behaviours across groups of respondents. The “distance-to-substitutes” affects how respondents gauge substitute sites. We find a significant influence of the squared average buffer distance but this effect varies in sign across case studies and classes of respondents. Our results demonstrate that individual-specific GIS data can significantly improve the representation of the spatial context and the transferability of value functions. However, the roles played by preference heterogeneity and nature perception on respondents’ capacity to value nature still deserves further attention in future research.

Keywords: Benefit transfer; Discrete choice experiment; Ecosystem services; GIS; Latent class; Nature; Non-market valuation; Spatial; Substitute (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q20 Q26 Q51 Q57 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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