Marine Debris, Beach Quality, and Non-Market Values
- Cite this article as:
- Smith, V.K., Zhang, X. & Palmquist, R.B. Environmental and Resource Economics (1997) 10: 223. doi:10.1023/A:1026465413899
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This paper reports the first attempt to measure the importance of controlling marine debris as an aesthetic characteristic of beaches and coastal area. The results are based on a contingent valuation survey designed to estimate the economic value people would place on controlling marine debris on recreational beaches in New Jersey and North Carolina. A Weibull survival model was estimated treating for and against votes as defining censoring points for an unknown willingness to pay distribution. The findings suggest: (1) people do distinguish situations with differing amounts of debris when they are described using color photographs; (2) the pilot survey implies measures of people's willingness to pay (WTP) for debris control are consistent with a scope test in that larger WTP is associated with programs intended to address situations for more serious background levels of debris; and (3) local beach conditions seem to influence how people interpreted the plans describing beach conditions without the proposed control programs.