Effects of Information Framing and Information Seeking Behavior on Willingness-to-pay for a Wildfire Management Program

Provision of adequate and unbiased information is a prerequisite for contingent valuation. However, there remains substantial disagreement and lack of understanding regarding how information provided in the survey influences responses to valuation questions. In this study, we examine the effects of wording of the willingness-to-pay (WTP) statement (question framing), the level of information provided by the survey instrument (information framing), and prior exposure of respondents to information about the issue on WTP for a wildfire management program to reduce wildfire risk. Question framing had a statistically insignificant effect on WTP. On its own, information framing was a statistically insignificant determinant of WTP; however, became significant when prior exposure of respondents to information was accounted for. For all information framing levels considered in the study, respondents with greater prior exposure to information were found to have higher WTP than those with less prior exposure. Respondents used information provided in the survey to update their risk perceptions and WTP for the program, although the direction of change was conditional on their prior exposure to information. As the level of information provided by the survey increased, the WTP of respondents with alternative levels of prior exposure to information converged. This convergence supports calls from practitioners to better inform survey recipients about the good they are being asked to value. Our study suggests testing the level of agreement between respondents with differing levels of prior information may be desirable for increasing the level of confidence with which non-market valuation estimates may be used to support decision-making.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
Q51; D81
Series Statement:
Paper 7595

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-22

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