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Abstract

We estimate the value of beach conditions information in the hands of the public prior to taking beach trips. We designed and administered a contingent-valuation survey to the beach-going population of the five U.S. Gulf Coast states that features a region-wide beach conditions 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. To preview our results, we find that although respondents perceive that such a service would be beneficial, many perceive that the information provided is already available elsewhere, and 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 would still exceed the estimated cost of provision.

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