Using choice experiments to explore the spatial distribution of willingness to pay for rural landscape improvements

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Journal Article
Environment and Planning A, 2009, 41 (1), pp. 97 - 111
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We report findings from a choice experiment survey designed to estimate the economic benefits of policy measures to improve the rural landscape in the Republic of Ireland. Using a panel mixed logit specification to account for unobserved taste heterogeneity we derived individual-specific willingness-to-pay (WTP) estimates for each respondent in the sample. We subsequently investigated the spatial dependence of these estimates. Results suggest the existence of positive spatial autocorrelation for all rural landscape attributes. As a means of benefit transfer, kriging methods were employed to interpolate WTP estimates across the whole of the Republic of Ireland. The kriged WTP surfaces confirm the existence of spatial dependence and illustrate the implied spatial variation and regional disparities in WTP for all the rural landscape improvements investigated.
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