The impact of protest responses in choice experiments: an application to a Biosphere Reserve Management Program

M. Barrio, M. Loureiro


Aim of study: To identify protest responses and compute welfare estimates with and without the inclusion of such responses using follow-up statements in a choice experiment exercise. To our knowledge, this is one of the first empirical applications that, following the conventional treatment used in contingent valuation methodology, explicitly deals with the treatment and identification of protest responses in choice experiments.

Area of study: the Eo, Oscos y Terras de Burón Biosphere Reserve sited between the regions of Galicia and Asturias. We are interested in the influence of such responses on preference elicitation for alternative management actions in this Reserve.

Materials and methods: A face-to-face survey conducted in a sample of residents and non-residents of this Reserve. In total, more than 450 surveys were collected.

Main results show that protest responses are fairly common in choice experiments, and their analysis affects the statistical performance of the empirical models as well as the valuation estimates. In fact, when the sample is corrected by protest responses, its size decreases to 303 individuals. Furthermore, we can observe that protest responses are triggered by a less positive attitude towards the wolf.

Research highlight: Protest responses are a common issue in choice experiments and, therefore, future exercises should consider them explicitly, as earlier contingent valuation studies have.

Key words: Biosphere Reserve; choice experiments; protest responses; willingness to pay.

Full Text:



Adamowicz W, Boxall P, Williams M, Louviere J, 1998. Stated preference approach for measuring passive use values: choice experiments and contingent valuation. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 80: 64-75.

Adamowicz W, Louviere J, Williams M, 1994. Combining stated and revealed preference methods for valuing environmental amenities. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 26: 271-292.

Adamowicz W, Swait J, Boxall I, Louviere J, Williams M, 1997. Perceptions versus objective measures of environmental quality in combined revealed and stated preference models of environmental valuation. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 32: 65-84.

Allenby G, Ginter J, 1995. The effects of in-store displays and feature advertising on consideration sets. International Journal of Research in Marketing 12: 67-80.

Bateman I, Carson R, Day B, Hanemann M, Hanley N, Hett T, et al., 2002. Economic valuation with stated preference techniques: a manual. Edward Elgar Publishing Northhampton.

Bhat C, 1995. A Heteroskedastic extreme value model of intercity travel mode choice. Transportation Research B 29: 471-483.

Blamey RK, Bennett JW, Louviere JJ, Morrison MD, Rolfe J, 2000. A test of policy labels in environmental choice modelling studies. Ecological Economics 32: 269-286.

Boxall P, Adamowicz W, Swait J, Williams M, Louviere J, 1996. A comparison of stated preference methods for environmental valuation. Ecological Economics 18: 243-253.

Boyle K. Bergstrom J, 1999. Doubt, doubt, and doubters: the genesis of a new research agenda? In: Valuing environmental preferences: theory and practice of the contingent valuation method in the US, EU and developing countries (Bateman IJ, Willis KG, eds). Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Chen HZ, Cosslett RS, 1998. Environmental quality preference and benefit estimation in multinomial probit models: a simulation approach. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 80: 512-520.

Chuan-Zhong L, Kuuluvainen J, Pouta E, Rekola M, Tahvonen O, 2004. Using choice experiments to value the Natura 2000 nature conservations programs in Finland. Environmental and Resources Economics 29: 361-374.

Department Of Transport, Local Government and Regions (DTLR), 2002. Economic valuation with stated preference techniques. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK.

Durrant J, Shumway M, 2004. Attitudes toward wilderness study areas: a survey of six southeastern Utah Counties. Environmental Management 33(2): 271-283. PMid:15285404

Freeman AM, 1986. On Assessing the state of the art of the contingent valuation method of valuing environmental changes. In: Valuing environmental goods: an assessment of the contingent valuation method (Cummings RG, Brookshire DS, Schulze WD, eds). Rowman and Allanheld Publisher, Totowa, New Jersey.

Giraud K, Turcin B, Loomis J, Cooper J, 2002. Economic benefit of the protection program for the steller sea lion. Marine Policy 26: 451-458.

GreeneW, 1997. Econometric analysis, 3rd ed. Prentice Hall.

Halstead J, Luloff AE, Stevens H, 1992. Protest bidders in contingent valuation. Northeastern Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 21(2): 160-169.

Hanemann WM, Kanninen B, 1999. The statistical analysis of discrete-response. In: Valuing the environment: preferences: theory and practice of the contingent valuation method in the US, EC and developing countries (Bateman I, Willis K, eds). Oxford University Press.

Hanley N, Mourato S, Wright R, 2001. Choice modelling approaches: a superior alternative for environmental valuation? Journal of Economic Surveys 15(3): 435-462.

Hanley N, Wright R, Alvarez-Farizo B, 2006. Estimating the economic value of improvements in river ecology using choice experiments: an application to the water framework directive. Journal of Environmental Management 78: 183-193. PMid:16112797

Hausman J, Wise DA, 1978. A conditional probit model for quantitative choice: discrete decisions recognizing interdependence and heterogeneous preferences. Econometrica 46: 402-426.

Hearne R, Santos A, 2005. Tourists' and locals' preferences toward ecotourism development in the Maya Biospher Reserve, Guatemala. Environment, Development and Sustainability 7: 303-318.

Holmes T, Zinkhan C, Alger K, Mercer E, 1998. The effect of response time on conjoint analysis: estimates of rain forest protection values. Journal of Forest Economics 4(1): 7-28.

Jakobsson K, Dragun A, 2001. The worth of a possum: valuing species with the contingent valuation method. Environmental and Resource Economics 19: 211-227.

Jorgensen B, Geoffrey S, Bishop B, Nancarrow B, 1999. Protest responses in contingent valuation. Environmental and Resource Economics 14: 131-150.

Jorgensen B, Syme G, 2000. Protest responses and willingness to pay: attitude toward paying for storm water pollution abatement. Ecological Economics 33: 251-265.

Karlsson J, Sjöströmb M, 2007. Human attitudes towards wolves, a matter of distance. Biological Conservartion 137: 610-616.

Kideghesho JR, Roskat E, Kaltenborn BP, 2007. Factors influencing conservation attitudes of local people in Western Serengeti, Tanzania. Biodiversity and Conservation 16(7): 2213-2230.

Layton DF, Brown G, 2000. Heterogeneous preferences regarding global climate change. The Review of Economics Statistics 82: 616-624.

Lehmkuhl JF, Upreti RK, Sharma UR, 1988. National parks and local development: grasses and people in Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal. Environmental Conservation 15: 143-148.

Loomis J, González-Cabán A, Gregory R, 1996. A contingent valuation study of the value of reducing fore hazards to old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest. Reseach Paper PSW-RP-229. Pacific Southwest Research Station. Forest Service. US Department of Agriculture.

Louviere J, 2001. Choices experiments: an overview of concept and issues. In: The choice modelling approach to environmental valuation (Bennet J, Blame R, eds). Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. pp: 13-36.

Louviere JJ, Hensher DA, Swait JD, 2000. Stated choice methods: analysis and application. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Luce D, 1959. Individual choice behaviour. John Wiley, New York. PMid:13645853

Lusk JL, Schroeder TC, 2004. Are choice experiments incentive compatible? A test with quality differentiated beef steaks. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 86(2): 467-482.

Mackenzie J, 1993. A comparison of contingent preference models. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 75: 593-603.

McFadden D, 2001. Economic choices. American Economic Review 91(3): 351-378.

McFadden D, 1974. Conditional logit analysis of qualitative choice behaviour. In: Frontiers in econometrics (Zarembka P, (eds). Academic Press, New York. PMCid:355621

Mercer E, Snook A, 2004. Analyzing ex-ante agroforestry adoption decisions with attribute-based choice experiments. In: Valuing agroforestry systems. Methods and applications (Alavalapati J, Mercer D, eds). Kluwer Academic Publishers. Netherlands.

Meyerhoff J, Liebe L, 2008. Do protest responses to a contingent valuation question and a choice experiment differ? Environmental Resource Economics 39: 433-446.

Meyerhoff J, Liebe L, 2009. Status quo effect in choice experiments: empirical evidence on attitudes and choice task complexity. Land Economics 85(3): 515-528.

Mitchell RC, Carson RT, 1989. Using surveys to value public goods: the contingent valuation method.Washington, DC, Resources for the Future.

Morrison M, Blamey R, Bennett J, 2000. Minimizing payment vehicle bios in contingent valuation studies. Environmental and Resource Economics 16: 407-422.

Morrison M, Bennett J, Blamey R, Louviere J, 2002. Choice modeling and tests of benefit transfer. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 84 (1): 161-170.

Nunes LC, Cunha-e-Sá MA, Ducla-Soares MM, Rosado MA, Day BH, 2001. Identifying non-consistent choice behavior in recreation demand models. Economics Letters 72(3): 403-410.

Revelt D, Train K, 1998. Mixed logit with repetead choices: households' choices of appliance efficiency Level. The Review of Economics and Statistics 80(4): 647-657.

Strazzera E, Genius M, Scarpa R, Hutchinson G, 2003. The effect of protest votes on the estimated of WTP for use values of recreational sites. Environmental and Resource Economics 25: 461-476.

Train K, 1998. Recreation demand models with taste differences over people. Land Economics 74: 230-239.

Train K, 2003. Discrete choice models with simulation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. PMid:12648124

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 2005. Biosphere Reserves. Benefits and Opportunities. SC.2005/WS/49 REV. Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. 2010. UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB).

Walsh RG, Loomis JB, Gillman RA, 1984. Valuing option, existence, and bequest demands for wilderness. Land Economics 60(1): 14-29.

DOI: 10.5424/fs/2013221-03103