Using choice modeling to estimate the effects of environmental improvements on local development: When the purpose modifies the tool

Maria Helena Guimarães, Lívia Madureira, Luís Catela Nunes, José Lima Santos, Carlos Sousa, Tomasz Boski, Tomaz Dentinho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A Choice Modeling (CM) study was chosen to assess specific management actions related to bird-watching on the Portuguese island of Terceira in the Azores. The usual willingness-to-pay measure was replaced by the willingness-to-stay (WTS) longer on the island for bird-watching, given changes in the site attributes. Results of the valuation study were presented to stakeholders and policy-makers using an innovative method. In particular, CM results were incorporated into a modeling tool which simulated the impact of alternative policy packages. For each selected scenario, users were able to understand birders' WTS and its impact on the local economy. The tool provided a fast and clear way of communicating relevant information, resulting in a more informed and inclusive deliberative process. Furthermore, we were able to see how results were used by the final users and came to the conclusion that local managers had preconceived ideas which did not match birders' preferences. This work led to a shift regarding prior beliefs about the relevance of bird-watching activities on the local economy as well as management actions likely to promote it. The underlying participatory approach was found to be an essential feature for the success of this science and policy interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-90
Number of pages12
JournalEcological Economics
Volume108
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014

Keywords

  • Bird watching
  • Choice Modeling
  • Decision making
  • Science-policy interface
  • Tourism

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