101 Pages Posted: 8 May 2012 Last revised: 2 Apr 2013
Date Written: April 8, 2012
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: 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