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Kassahun, Habtamu Tilahun (2014) Advances in stated preference studies for valuing and managing the environment : a developing country context. [Tesi di dottorato]

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Abstract (inglese)

The most important factor that motivates the work of this dissertation is the loss of ecosystem services. Soil erosion, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity are prevalent in developing countries. Thus, reliable estimates of their values are crucial for policy making and sustainable management of environmental and natural resources. However, empirical evidence shows that many valuation studies conducted in developing countries are of poor quality, questioning the reliability of their results. Therefore, the core work presented in this dissertation aims at improving the reliability of stated preference (SP) studies by addressing critical issues across four self-contained articles using three examples of SP surveys related to the Blue Nile ecosystem service valuation and watershed management. The dissertation answers three core research questions: 1) What incentive mechanisms can motivate farmers to participate in a new integrated private and common land management activity to reduce both on-site and offsite impacts of soil erosion and hence provide ecosystem services? 2) How much are ecosystem service users willing to pay for watershed management in the Blue Nile Basin? And 3) How can stated preference methods be improved to get reliable value estimates?
In Paper 1 we identify the incentives that motivate land users to participate in an innovative integrated private and communal land management in the Ethiopian highlands of the Upper Blue Nile Basin. We also estimate the willingness to contribute by labor (WTC) and the willingness to accept (WTA) different incentives such as subsidized credit facilities, better opportunity for livestock production in the form of grazing land reform, and additional extension service for implementing and monitoring watershed management activities. In addition, we account explicitly for the preferences of farmers’ who always select the status quo option using a latent class model. We find that old and female farmers have a higher tendency to choose the status quo alternative. Although illiterate farmers constitute half of the sample population, being illiterate does not influence the selection of the status quo alternative. Apart from a non-attendance class, the study reveals two classes with opposite viewpoints on livestock management strategy. Farmers in one class prefer the cut and carry livestock management system, whereas farmers in the other class prefer free grazing. Furthermore, the results revealed that farmers’ preferences for different watershed management technologies and incentives are fairly homogeneous within the same spatial unit. This suggests that intervention strategies and agricultural extension services can be administered with relatively low operational cost as spatially organized farmers have the same preferences.
In Paper 2 we adapt an advanced integrated choice and latent variable model with a random parameter error component specification to estimate the value of power outage reduction and watershed management. In the modelling, we account for citizens’ distrust of government and skepticism of a link between watershed management (WM) and hydropower production (HP). We treat both of them as latent variables and we use five-point Likert scale indicators of attitudinal and perceptional data to define the latent variables ‘distrust of government’ and ‘skepticism of a link between WM and HP’. The results reveal that both respondents’ distrust of government and skepticism of a link between WM and HP, as explained through the latent variables, are highly significant determinants of respondents’ WTP for power outage reduction and integrated watershed management. Thus, quantifying respondents’ perception of public goods and distrust of government is essential.
In Paper 3 we explore how farmers who benefit from irrigation value reliable irrigation services when beneficiaries themselves are new to irrigation farming. Because irrigation farming is new to farmers, we accounted for their underlying expectation of future irrigation productivity via an Integrated Choice and Latent Variable (ICLV) model approach. We compared the ICLV estimates with the standard models. The result indicates that standard models bias the variance of the mean and the aggregate willingness to pay (WTP).
In Paper 4 we investigate the consequences of payment vehicle independence assumption on utility and parameter estimates when two payment vehicles (money and labor) are used to elicit value in developing countries. Using a valuation study of irrigation services in Koga Watershed of the Upper Blue Nile Basin as an empirical case, we find that the assumption of exogeneity of payment vehicles in a contingent valuation choice sequence leads to biased estimated coefficients and erroneous conclusions regarding the effect of cross-payment vehicle trade-offs.
From this PhD study, we can draw three general conclusions regarding managing watershed externalities and application of SP methods in a developing country context.
1. There is no uniform incentive to motivate ecosystem service providers to implement land management strategies to reduce both on-site and offsite impacts of soil erosion. Thus, policy design to address both the on-site and off-site effects of soil erosion in the Ethiopian highlands of the Upper Blue Nile Basin should consider the heterogeneity of preference for incentives across different groups of farmers.
2. Citizens are willing to pay a substantial amount of money for environmental services. However, from our results we can conclude that the overall WTP for environmental services are often underestimated.
3. SP methods can provide reliable estimates of value in a developing country context. However, several issues need to be considered in the design of the survey instrument as well as in the data analysis

Abstract (italiano)

La presente tesi si inquadra nel contesto della perdita di servizi ecosistemici – in particolare l’erosione del suolo, la deforestazione e la perdita di biodiversità – nei paesi in via di sviluppo e dal presupposto che una disponibilità di stime affidabili del valore di tali servizi è essenziale nell’individuare opportuni strumenti di politica e indirizzare la gestione delle risorse verso una maggiore sostenibilità. Nella costatazione vi è una generalizzata scarsa qualità degli studi di valutazione condotti nei paesi in via di sviluppo, come dimostrato da diverse evidenze empiriche, la tesi si propone di migliorare l’affidabilità dei metodi basati sulle Preferenze Dichiarate e ne affronta gli aspetti critici in quattro articoli indipendenti che impiegano tre diverse indagini relative alla valutazione di servizi ecosistemici nel bacino del Nilo Blu.
La tesi si pone le seguenti tre research questions: 1) quali tipi incentivi si possono impiegare per motivare gli agricoltori a partecipare ad un progetto di gestione integrata individuale-collettiva allo scopo di ridurre l’erosione del suolo sia off-site che on-site? 2) qual è la disponibilità a pagare da parte degli utenti dei servizi idrici nel bacino del Nilo Blu ? e 3) come si possono migliorare i metodi delle Preferenze Dichiarate per ottenere stime affidabili ?
L’articolo N. 1 ha come obiettivo l’identificazione di incentivi per indurre agricoltori, pastori ed altri utilizzatori dei terreni a partecipare ad un programma innovativo di gestione integrata individuale-collettiva negli altipiani etiopici del bacino dell’Alto Nilo Blu. Il lavoro ha stimato la disponibilità da un lato a contribuire con ore-lavoro e dall’altro ad accettare incentivi di diverso tipo: l’accesso al credito agevolato, una riforma agraria dei pascoli che migliori le opportunità per l’allevamento e l’erogazione di assistenza tecnica per implementare e monitorare attività di gestione del bacino idrico. Tramite un modello a classi latenti, ci si è soffermati a considerare le preferenze di quegli agricoltori che optano sempre per lo status quo, che sono risultati essere prevalentemente agricoltori anziani e donne. Si è anche visto che l’analfabetismo, che caratterizza la metà della popolazione di riferimento, non determina invece la scelta dello status quo. Lo studio ha anche rivelato l’esistenza di due classi (oltre a quella dei non aderenti) che mostrano opinioni diverse sulle strategie di gestione del bestiame. Gli agricoltori appartenenti alla prima classe preferiscono un sistema basato sullo sfalcio dei prati, mentre quelli appartenenti alla seconda optano per un sistema di pascolamento libero. I risultati dello studio indicano inoltre omogeneità di preferenze a livello di unità spaziale per quanto riguarda le modalità di gestione del bacino idrico, suggerendo che gli interventi e i servizi di assistenza tecnica possono essere erogati con costi operativi relativamente bassi, dato che agricoltori che operano nella stessa area hanno le medesime preferenze.
Nell’articolo N. 2 si è impiegato un modello integrato avanzato ‘scelta e variabili latenti’, adattato tramite una specificazione della componente relativa all’errore parametrico randomizzato al fine di stimare il valore di un contenimento degli episodi di interruzione di corrente e quello della relativa associata gestione del bacino idrico. Il modello ha analizzato la sfiducia dei cittadini nei riguardi dell’azione del governo nella fornitura di energia elettrica e lo scetticismo relativo al nesso causa-effetto tra la gestione del bacino e la produzione di energia idroelettrica. Entrambi gli aspetti sono stati trattati come variabili latenti ed è stata usata una scala Likert a cinque livelli per rilevare dati attitudinali e percettivi che definiscano le variabili latenti ‘sfiducia’ e ‘scetticismo’. I risultati rivelano che entrambe le variabili latenti sono determinanti significative della disponibilità a pagare per la riduzione delle interruzioni di corrente e della associata gestione del bacino idrico.
Nell’articolo N. 3 si è esplorato come gli agricoltori che hanno recentemente aderito ad un programma di agricoltura irrigua, e sono quindi ancora inesperti, ritengano che un aspetto determinante del programma sia l’affidabilità nell’erogazione dell’acqua. Poiché il progetto è di recente implementazione, nello studio si è fatto riferimento alle aspettative degli agricoltori riguardo alla produttività futura delle colture irrigue. Si è utilizzato un modello integrato ‘scelta e variabili latenti’ e si sono confrontate le stime del modello integrato con quelle dei modelli classici: i risultati indicano che questi ultimi hanno azione distorsiva sulla varianza della media e sulla disponibilità a pagare aggregata.
Nell’Articolo N. 4 sono stati infine valutati gli impatti delle assunzioni di indipendenza riguardo alla scelta del veicolo di pagamento nella stima dell’utilità. Sono stati considerati due diversi veicoli di pagamento: in moneta e in ore-lavoro. Il contesto di riferimento è sempre quello dei paesi in via di sviluppo; in particolare è stato utilizzato come caso empirico uno studio di valutazione nel bacino del Koga (Alto Nilo Blu). I risultati ottenuti mostrano come le assunzioni di esogeneità del veicolo di pagamento nella valutazione contingente portano a distorsioni nei coefficienti stimati e a conclusioni errate circa gli effetti di trade-off tra diversi veicoli.
Dalla tesi di dottorato si possono trarre tre conclusioni generali al riguardo delle esternalità relative ai servizi di gestione dei bacini idrici e alle applicazioni di metodi basati sulle Preferenze Dichiarate nel contesto dei paesi in via di sviluppo:
1. Non esiste un incentivo uniforme per indurre i produttori di servizi ecosistemici ad implementare strategie di uso del suolo tali da ridurre gli impatti sia on-site che off-site. Pertanto, gli strumenti di politica indirizzati ad affrontare gli effetti sia on-site che off-site negli altopiani etiopici dell’Alto Nilo Blu dovranno tenere conto delle eterogeneità delle preferenze riguardo il tipo di incentivo da parte di diversi gruppi di agricoltori
2. I cittadini sono disposti a pagare considerevoli somme di denaro per i servizi ambientali. I nostri risultati mostrano tuttavia che la disponibilità a pagare complessiva per i servizi ambientali è sottostimata
3. I metodi basati sulle Preferenze Dichiarate possono produrre stime affidabili nel contesto dei paesi in via di sviluppo. Tuttavia, diversi sono gli aspetti che devono essere attentamente considerati sia nel disegno dello strumento di indagine che nell’analisi dei dati

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Tipo di EPrint:Tesi di dottorato
Relatore:Gatto , Paola - Jacobsen , Jette Bredahl
Dottorato (corsi e scuole):Ciclo 27 > scuole 27 > TERRITORIO, AMBIENTE, RISORSE E SALUTE
Data di deposito della tesi:19 Dicembre 2014
Anno di Pubblicazione:28 Novembre 2014
Informazioni aggiuntive:http://fonaso.eu/
Parole chiave (italiano / inglese):Attribute non-attendance; spatial preferences; watershed management; labour contribution;common vs private land management;Perception; institutional trust; hybrid choice model; electricity demand; Ethiopia; developing countries;: Integrated Choice and Latent Variable model; Payment for environmental services; Contingent valuation; Uncertainty;Endogeneity; Recursive bivariate probit model; Contingent valuation; Stated preference methods; Irrigation service;
Settori scientifico-disciplinari MIUR:Area 13 - Scienze economiche e statistiche > SECS-P/06 Economia applicata
Struttura di riferimento:Dipartimenti > Dipartimento Territorio e Sistemi Agro-Forestali
Codice ID:7391
Depositato il:23 Nov 2015 08:43
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