The policy relevance of choice modelling: an application to the Ningaloo and proposed Capes Marine Parks

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    Abstract

    Choice Modelling (CM) is a valuation technique commonly applied to estimate dollar values for environmental assets. It has had limited impact with respect to its use in policy, despite its demonstrated advantages in quantifying existence values. Its slow uptake in guiding real-world decisions raises questions about its relevance for policy. This study provides some insight as to whether the technique is in fact useful to inform policy by investigating two key issues: (1) whether preferences diverge between the general public and expert scientist populations; and (2) whether the inclusion of management processes in the choice model has an impact on preferences. If preferences are found to be divergent between the public and experts, it follows that public consultation is an essential component of decision making processes, and that CM is indeed a relevant approach to inform policy of public preferences. With respect to (2), if preferences for a policy are dependent on the management processes used to implement that policy, then the knowledge gained from CM studies incorporating management in the choice model could be used to ensure appropriate implementation of a policy, and therefore its public acceptance. Two marine parks in Western Australia were selected as appropriate case studies to investigate the policy relevance of CM. Specifically, these are the iconic Ningaloo Marine Park and the less well known area covered by the proposed Ngari Capes Marine Park. The difference between general public awareness of the two parks offered an opportunity for an investigation into the impact of knowledge on preferences. In total, 997 usable responses were retrieved from a CM survey that sampled the West Australian public and Australian marine scientists. Mixed multinomial logit models were used to analyse the data, with the results showing that there was a positive preference for conserving the two marine parks.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2011

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