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Abstract

A recent innovation in stated preference environmental valuation surveys is to acknowledge uncertainty associated with scientific predictions about ecological outcomes, complexity of management actions and potential difficulties in implementing environmental programs. Still little is known about how individuals assimilate and respond to outcome uncertainty, particularly in terms of how it affects their stated valuations. In this paper, we focus on the impact of individual risk preferences on willingness to pay for conservation of threatened species. Risk preferences are elicited through a standard incentivised multiple price list and preferences for the conservation of the two main lynx populations in Poland through a discrete choice experiment. To account for the uncertainty associated with imprecise scientific knowledge about environmental outcome, attributes in the choice experiment are presented as conservation status in terms of descriptive, non-numerical categories. The results from the multiple price list and the choice experiment are jointly analysed in a latent variable model by assuming that the responses to both are driven by the same preferences. We find that the latent risk preferences are linked to choices of the status quo option, which is the riskiest option in terms of the survival of the endangered lynx populations.

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