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America’s Wetland? A National Survey of Willingness to Pay for Restoration of Louisiana’s Coastal Wetlands

101 Pages Posted: 8 May 2012 Last revised: 2 Apr 2013

Daniel R. Petrolia

Mississippi State University - Department of Agricultural Economics

Matthew G. Interis

Mississippi State University

Michael K. Hidrue

University of Delaware - Economics

Joonghyun Hwang

Mississippi State University - Department of Agricultural Economics

Ross G. Moore

Independent

GwanSeon Kim

University of Georgia - Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics

Date Written: April 8, 2012

Abstract

A nationwide survey was conducted in the summer of 2011 via Knowledge Networks to estimate the willingness to pay (WTP) for a large-scale restoration project in the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary in coastal Louisiana. A split-sample approach was used to administer both a binary-choice (contingent valuation) and multinomial-choice (choice experiment) version of the survey, with the latter used to estimate willingness to pay for increments in three specific wetland ecosystem services: wildlife habitat, storm surge protection, and fisheries productivity. A total of 3,464 respondents completed the valuation exercise, of which 3,228 (93%) had neither visited nor live/lived in the study region. (Note also that only 32 respondents, < 1%, were Louisiana residents). Of the 1,397 respondents who completed the binary-choice version of the survey, 601 (43%) were willing to pay some positive amount of money for the proposed restoration project (costs ranged between $25 and $2,825 per household). Of the 2,067 respondents who completed the multinomial-choice version of the survey, 1,250 (60%) were willing to pay for some version of the restoration. Results indicate that confidence in federal and state government agencies, political leanings, and “green” lifestyle choices were significant explanatory factors regarding support. All three wetland ecosystem services significantly affected project support, with increased fisheries productivity having the largest marginal effect, followed by improved storm surge protection, and increased wildlife habitat. Mean WTP for an intermediate-scale restoration program ranges between $909 and $1751 per household, with a total value between $105 billion and $201 billion, which exceeds a recent (and by far the largest) $100 billion restoration cost estimate.

Keywords: choice experiment, consequentiality, contingent valuation, Knowledge Networks, Louisiana, non-market valuation, wetlands

JEL Classification: C93, Q24

Suggested Citation

Petrolia, Daniel R. and Interis, Matthew G. and Hidrue, Michael K. and Hwang, Joonghyun and Moore, Ross G. and Kim, GwanSeon, America’s Wetland? A National Survey of Willingness to Pay for Restoration of Louisiana’s Coastal Wetlands (April 8, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2054867 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2054867

Daniel R. Petrolia (Contact Author)

Mississippi State University - Department of Agricultural Economics ( email )

Box 5187
Mississippi State, MS 39762
United States

Matthew G. Interis

Mississippi State University ( email )

Box 5187
Mississippi State, MS 39762
United States

Michael K. Hidrue

University of Delaware - Economics ( email )

Newark, DE 19716
United States

Joonghyun Hwang

Mississippi State University - Department of Agricultural Economics ( email )

Box 5187
Mississippi State, MS 39762
United States

Ross G. Moore

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

GwanSeon Kim

University of Georgia - Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-7509
United States

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