The use of stated preferences and bio-economic modeling in marine ecosystem service management: Case studies from Arctic Norway
AuthorAhi, Julide Ceren
Regarding the growing population and escalated development on the coasts, the environmental policymakers often face the dilemma of exploiting or protecting marine and coastal ecosystem services (ES). Therefore, the non-market valuation has become an essential instrument for supporting policymakers in eliciting preferences and welfare estimates regarding various ES, which further feed into the cost-benefit analyses (CBA). Among various non-market valuation techniques, the discrete choice experiment (DCE) methodology has gained ground in recent years for its advantages for capturing several trade- offs across multiple policy scenario alternatives and attributes. This thesis examines methodological issues regarding DCE applications on marine and coastal ES valuation and the further utilization of obtained non-market values in bio-economic models. Across three research papers utilizing DCE data collected in Arctic Norway, the results present implications for non-market valuation research and policymakers.
The first paper studies the impact of including a socio-economic attribute in environmental policy DCE studies on the attendance paid to the other attributes. We utilize split sample DCE data to elicit preferences regarding coastal development on the Arctic coast, where we present an additional socio-economic attribute indicating the number of jobs created in the region in one version. The analysis suggests that a socio-economic attribute does not significantly alter the attention dedicated to other attributes. However, the obtained willingness-to-pay (WTP) measures significantly fluctuate across two samples, which can have important implications for the subsequent CBA.
The second paper focuses on choice architecture interventions in DCE design. The study employs a three-way split sample for studying value activation through environmental and socio-economic signposts. Employing the case of coastal cod regulations and the controversial expansion of fishing tourism in Arctic Norway, the base DCE involves the attributes of coastal cod spawning stock biomass (SSB), stricter regulated user group, and cost. However, the other two versions include additional attributes of catch by fishing tourists (Treatment 1) and jobs created by fishing tourism (Treatment 2), which serve as decision signposts for value activation. The results indicate rather weak evidence for activating pre-existing pro-environmental and pro- development values through the adoption of signposts in DCE design. Nonetheless, we observe statistically significant differences in WTPs, supporting the results obtained in paper I.
Finally, the third paper expands the standard bioeconomic models to incorporate non-use values and locals’ prioritization of ES uses. We gradually extend the bioeconomic model to involve the commercial fishing benefits, recreational fishing benefits, non-use benefits, and prioritization weights attached to these by the local population for optimizing the coastal cod biomass. Overall, the bioeconomic dynamic optimization results suggest that disregarding the non-use benefits attached to coastal cod results in the undervaluation of stock, which can lead to significant overexploitation and degradation.
Paper 1: Ahi, J.C. & Kipperberg, G. (2020). Attribute Non-attendance in Environmental Discrete Choice Experiments: The Impact of Including an Employment Attribute. Marine Resource Economics, 35(3), 201-218. Also available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/709457.
Paper 2: Ahi, J.C., Kipperberg, G. & Aanesen, M. Testing the sensitivity of stated preferences to variations in choice architecture. (Submitted manuscript).
Paper 3: Ahi, J.C. & Armstrong, C. Estimating the socially optimal fish stock: incorporating society’s prioritization of ecosystem services. (Submitted manuscript).
PublisherUiT The Arctic University of Norway
UiT Norges arktiske universitet
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