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Environmental attitudes and place identity as simultaneous determinants of preferences for environmental goods

Michela Faccioli (), Mikolaj Czajkowski (), Klaus Glenk and Julia Martin-Ortega
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Michela Faccioli: : Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute (LEEP), University of Exeter
Klaus Glenk: Land Economy & Environment, Scotland’s Rural College
Julia Martin-Ortega: Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds

No 2018-08, Working Papers from Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw

Abstract: Economic valuation is frequently employed to provide evidence of people's preferences for environmental goods. However, it is also often criticised for providing a simplified representation of preferences, with many factors that affect value formation not accounted for. This is the case of environmental attitudes and especially place identity perceptions, which have been largely overlooked in economic valuation, despite representing amongst the most important drivers of people's behaviour towards the environment, according to the environmental psychology and sociology literature. To address this gap, we designed and conducted a choice experiment where we explored the simultaneous role of environmental attitudes and place identity perceptions on willingness to pay (WTP), taking peatland restoration in Scotland as a case study. This study adds to the existing literature in that no valuation study to date has simultaneously integrated both aspects in preference modelling. Given that both factors are potentially strong drivers of preferences, focusing only on one or the other provides a partial picture of the determinants of WTP. Moreover, we do not just look at 'generic' environmental attitudes, but also at ‘specific’ environmental attitudes. Our results, estimated through a novel and econometrically robust approach based on the hybrid choice model, show that people with more positive environmental attitudes and those who feel attached to Scotland and think that peatlands are an important part of Scotland's identity and landscape tend to display higher WTP. These findings are important to provide a richer understanding of the determinants of preferences for environmental goods. Our results also open up new insights to the discipline in relation to the spatial heterogeneity of preferences: we have shown that people do not only relate with the space around them by focusing on the distance to the improvement site, as most frequently postulated in valuation studies. The idea that place can be understood as a space with emotional and cultural meanings also plays a critical role in shaping preferences. All these are critical elements to better inform policy-makers in the design of more socially acceptable and effective environmental policies.

Keywords: environmental valuation; discrete choice experiment; environmental attitudes; place identity; hybrid choice models; peatlands; Scotland (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q51 D6 D91 Q20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-cbe, nep-dcm and nep-env
Date: 2018
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https://www.wne.uw.edu.pl/index.php/download_file/4129/ First version, 2018 (application/pdf)

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:war:wpaper:2018-08

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