Department of Economics

Valuing Changes in the Quality of Coral Reef Ecosystems: A Stated Preference Study of SCUBA Diving in the Bonaire National Marine Park

Department of Economics
University of Delaware
Working Paper #2007-18

Valuing Changes in the Quality of Coral Reef Ecosystems: A Stated Preference Study of SCUBA Diving in the Bonaire National Marine Park

George R. Parsons and Steven M. Thur

ABSTRACT

We estimated the economic value of changes in the quality of a coral reef ecosystem to SCUBA divers in the Caribbean using a stated preference mail survey. Our sampling frame was all divers with U.S. home addresses who purchased a tag required for diving in the Bonaire National Marine Park in 2001. Divers were asked how they might have altered their trip choice had the quality of the coral reef system been different from what they experienced. From these responses we inferred the value of three different levels of quality defined by visibility, species diversity, and percent coral cover. We used random utility theory and mixed logit to analyze the choice questions. Our sample size was 211, and our survey response rate is 75%. For modest changes in quality we estimate per person annual losses at $45. For larger losses the value is $192.
 

Key words: coral reef, marine protected area, non-market valuation

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