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Abstract

Rural development programs (RDPs) are currently envisaged as a means to foster the provision of a broad range of non-commodity outputs emanating from multifunctional rural environments. This paper presents a Contingent Valuation survey that analyses individuals’ perceptions of and willingness to pay (WTP) for the implementation of a RDP in Cantabria, Spain. Uncertainty in individuals’ preferences is explicitly acknowledged and introduced into our analytical framework. For that purpose, a comparison is made between the open-ended (OE) and the multiple bounded uncertainty (MBU) elicitation formats. According to our behavioural model estimates, the expectation of a positive welfare change for both rural and urban dwellers constitutes a sound argument in favour of regional rural development policies.

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