Including value orientations in choice models to estimate benefits of wildlife management policies

Including value orientations in choice models to estimate benefits of wildlife management policies

Abstract

Value orientations towards wildlife affect the way people perceive nature and their connection with animals. In particular, the social psychological literature within the environmental field suggests that there are two main orientations of people towards wildlife: mutualism and domination. This body of literature has shown how wildlife value orientations can serve as predictors of attitudes and behaviours towards wildlife and form the foundation of human-wildlife conflicts. A common approach in the non-market valuation literature is to include information on attitudes and values in the deterministic part of the utility function, leading to problems of endogeneity bias. To avoid this, analysts have recently shifted their attention to approaches based on latent variables. This paper presents an application of a latent variable and latent class model, to understand how latent orientations influence choices, in a case study in the Italian Alps. The intuition is that different underlying individual value orientation affects preferences and the level of willingness to pay and should be therefore considered in choice models. The latent variable is used to explain class membership of respondents. Results indicate that the latent variable has a significant effect in class allocation and that the hybrid model performs better than a simple two class model. Results provide guidance on the social acceptability of management interventions and can support public decision-makers in the modulation of wildlife management policies for balancing the needs of conservation and outdoor recreation, explicitly considering existing human-wildlife conflicts.

Publication
Ecological Economics, 151: 70-81