5th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Oren Ehrlich
Session Name Achieving Behavior Change: Public perceptions and awareness of water conservation issues 2
Author(s) Oren Ehrlich,  Self (Presenting Author)
  Xiang Bi,  University of Florida
  A Latent Class Analysis on Public Attitudes Towards Water Resources in Florida: Implications for Recreational Demand
  The recent development on nonmarket valuation has focused on identifying preference heterogeneity and examining its impact on willingness to pay. The objective of this paper is to examine the extent to which heterogeneous environmental attitudes influence demand for freshwater recreational activities and valuation of freshwater recreational benefits. We focus on the longest river in Florida, the St. Johns River, and use a telephone survey of Florida’s residents to elicit information regarding household outdoor recreational experiences on the river. Additional information about respondent attitudes and perceptions about Florida’s water resources and natural resource policy are also collected. We use latent class analysis to reveal two distinct classes based on their environmental attitudes and perceptions. We then estimate a recreational demand model with respect to travel costs to the river, household income, perceived water quality of the river, and respondent’s environmental attitudes for each latent class. We find that the willingness to pay estimates for improved water quality are statistically different for the two classes. We contribute to the literature by emphasizing that environmental attitudes directly influence consumer’s recreational demand and valuation of the river thus should be taken into consideration for managing water resources.