Environmental attitudes and place identity as determinants of preferences for ecosystem services

Faccioli, M., Czajkowski, M., Glenk, K., Martin-Ortega, J. (2020) Ecological Economics, 174 (August 2020), 106600

Stated preference methods are frequently employed to measure people's willingness to pay (WTP) for ecosystem services. However, these techniques are also criticized for following a simplified approach, which often ignores the role of complex psychological and sociological factors, such as general environmental attitudes and place identity beliefs. By means of a discrete choice experiment exercise, we explored the influence of general environmental attitudes and place identity perceptions on WTP, taking peatland restoration in Scotland as a case study. Our research adds to the existing literature by providing a more nuanced picture of the determinants of WTP and by exploring and mapping the distribution of the estimated welfare measures. Our results, obtained from the estimation of hybrid choice models, show that people with more positive environmental attitudes and greater attachment to peatlands and Scotland tend to display higher WTP for peatland restoration. However, differences exist across respondents, depending on their socio-demographic profile and the geographical area. A better understanding of the heterogeneity of preferences for ecosystem services is helpful to guide more efficient policy design and to inform policy-makers about the distributional impacts of planned policies for equity considerations in project appraisal.


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