Know thy beach: Values of beach condition information

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© 2019 MRE Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved. We estimate the value of beach condition information in the hands of the public prior to taking beach trips. We designed and administered a contingent-valuation survey to the beachgoing population of the five U.S. Gulf Coast states that features a region-wide beach condition monitoring system currently proposed by the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS). We also test two hypothetical-bias mitigation strategies: a “budget and substitutes Q&A” treatment and a “cheap talk Q&A” treatment. We find that although respondents perceive that such a service would be beneficial, many perceive that the information provided is already available elsewhere, so the proportion of respondents willing to pay for access to the service is quite low. Nevertheless, we estimate that the aggregate value of the benefits associated with the service still exceeds the estimated cost of provision. After controlling for willingness to pay (WTP) response certainty, we find no significant treatment effects.

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Marine Resource Economics

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