Local Perception of Public Goods: Recent Assessments of Willingness-to-pay for Endangered Species


  • Denise L. Stanley

    1. Stanley: Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, California State University Fullerton, 800 N. State College Boulevard, Fullerton, CA 92834. Phone 1-714-278-7498, Fax 1-714-278-3067, Email dstanley@fullerton.edu
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      This is a revision of a paper presented at the Western Economic Association International 77th annual conference, Seattle, WA, 2 July 2002. Partial funding for this project was provided by the CSUF Center for Public Policy and the College of Business and Economics. Useful comments and assistance were given by Patty Champ, Jane Hall, Todd Lee, John Loomis, Pam Rathbun, and Mario Salgado.


A contingent valuation mail survey was administered in late 2001 to better understand current public opinion about controversial endangered species preservation in Orange County, California. Questionnaire design focused on additional taxes residents would be willing to pay to support recovery plans. Habitat and recovery of a single species, the Riverside fairy shrimp, is valued at around $25 per household, and the valuation is significantly changed by the higher scope of the public good provided, with an annual willingness-to-pay of around $50–60 per household for all local endangered species. Across the whole county, the public valuation of biodiversity is substantial yet probably could not fund necessary land acquisition for critical habitat, so continued national support for species preservation remains logical. (JEL Q51, Q57, Q58)