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Sunday, June 02, 2013

Measuring the Willingness to Pay for Cave Diving

WILLIAM L. HUTH
University of West Florida
O. ASHTON MORGAN
Appalachian State University
Abstract
Fresh water springs are unique natural resources that are contained within public lands across the United States. Natural resource management on public lands generates many interesting policy issues as the competing goals of conservation, recreational opportunity provision, and revenue generation often clash. As demand for recreational cave diving sites increases, this article provides natural resource site managers with the first statistical estimate of divers' willingness to pay (WTP) to dive cave and cavern systems. Using a contingent valuation model (CVM) and correcting for hypothetical bias, we find that divers' median WTP for cave diving opportunities at the site of interest is between $52 and $83 per dive. Model results also provide weak evidence of diver sensitivity with respect to scope, as individuals are willing to pay more for dives that are judged to be higher in quality.
JEL Classification Code: Q26, Q51
Published Online: 2011
William L. Huth is a professor, Department of Marketing and Economics, University of West Florida, 11000 University Parkway, Pensacola, FL 32514 USA (email: ).
O. Ashton Morgan is an assistant professor, Department of Economics, 3094 Raley Hall, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608 USA (email: ).
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