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Economics and the design of nature conservation policy: a case study of wild goose conservation in Scotland using choice experiments

Hanley, N. and MacMillan, D. and Patterson, I. and Wright, R.E. (2003) Economics and the design of nature conservation policy: a case study of wild goose conservation in Scotland using choice experiments. Animal Conservation, 6 (2). pp. 123-129. ISSN 1367-9430

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Abstract

This paper applies the 'choice experiment' method to investigate public preferences over the design of wild goose conservation policy in Scotland. We argue that this method can shed useful light on the design of conservation policy, allowing policy-makers to take account of people's preferences, be they members of the general public (whose taxes often pay for conservation actions), local residents more directly affected by the policy, or visitors to wildlife areas. Preferences can be quantified in economic terms, so that the costs and benefits of different policy designs can be compared. In our study, we find that the general public, local residents and visitors have very different preferences for the conservation of geese. Whether geese are shot, the endangered status of geese, the spatial targeting of conservation and the size of the goose population all have impacts on the perceived benefits of conservation. In general, though, people are willing to pay for wild geese conservation.