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Distance Decay Functions for Iconic Assets: Assessing National Values to Protect the Health of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Abstract

The aim of this study was to estimate the values to protect the health of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) at the national level and to examine the effects of distance decay on valuation estimates. Two choice-modelling experiments were conducted in six locations: a regional town within the GBR catchment area (Townsville); Brisbane, the state capital approximately 450 km from the southern limit of the GBR; and four other capital cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth) ranging from nearly 1,000 km to over 4,000 km from Brisbane. Value estimates from a pooled model suggest that the average WTP across Australian households is $21.68 per household per annum for 5 years, and that those values are higher for respondents with higher levels of education and income, respondents who live in Queensland, respondents who live further away, and respondents who plan to visit more often in the future. For this nationally important iconic asset, apparent distance decay effects appear to be explained by variations in future usage and state responsibility, rather than proximity.

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Correspondence to John Rolfe.

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Rolfe, J., Windle, J. Distance Decay Functions for Iconic Assets: Assessing National Values to Protect the Health of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Environ Resource Econ 53, 347–365 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10640-012-9565-3

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Keywords

  • Choice experiments
  • Distance decay
  • Iconic values
  • Coral reefs