Do native and invasive labels affect consumer willingness to pay for plants? Evidence from experimental auctions


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E-mail address: (C. Yue).


Ornamental plant sales have been identified as an important vector for the introduction of invasive plants. Increased concerns about the economic and ecological costs of invasive plants have spawned interest in identifying strategies to curtail introductions. One possible strategy is labeling plants based on whether they are invasive or native. The primary purpose of this paper was to explore how labeling plants based on invasive and native attributes might affect consumer demand. To accomplish this objective, a second price auction was used to elicit the willingness to pay (WTP) for plants with and without labels. On average, we found a $0.35 premium for plants labeled as noninvasive and native and a $1.01 to $1.66 discount for plants labeled as invasive. The size of these premiums and discounts differed in relation to various demographic, attitudinal, and preference-related factors. Overall, our results suggest that labeling plants as invasive or native could be a viable strategy for reducing the introduction of invasive plants.