Using revealed and stated preference methods to value large ship artificial reefs: the Key West Vandenberg sinking
Introduction This chapter provides an application for jointly estimating revealed and stated preference data in a non-market valuation framework. The purpose of the application is threefold. First, a single-site count data travel cost model is developed to estimate the value of diving on natural and artificial reefs in the Florida Keys. Second, the marginal effects of changes in site quality are evaluated by considering jointly divers’ actual and anticipated trips. Specifically, the value of increasing site scope by sinking the USS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, a 520-foot long decommissioned missile tracking vessel at the site, is considered. Scope effects are tested by combining data that evaluate divers’ stated preferences for two wreck/reef systems in which one system is a subset of the other. Scope effects have been tested in a contingent valuation framework with some research finding that individuals’ willingness to pay increases with the scope of the public good (Carson 1997; Powe and Bateman 2004) while others have found scope insensitivity with willingness to pay for a public good of greater quantity or quality not significantly different from existing measures (Schkade and Payne 1994; Whitehead and Finney 2003). In this chapter, scope effects are examined in a revealed and stated preference framework to assess whether adding a large ship artificial reef to the existing system impacts anticipated trip behavior. This component of the analysis addresses a specific reef management policy. As the number of decommissioned military vessels in the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) vessel disposal program increases, sinking vessels as artificial reefs has become a viable disposal option.1 Further, in addition to providing a new diving and fishing attraction in the area, it is expected that this artificial reef will also relieve some of the SCUBA diving pressure off the area’s natural coral reefs. As a substantial amount of time, effort, and expense is involved in sinking a vessel, measuring the marginal diving value of adding a large vessel near the existing reef system will provide important valuation feedback to reef managers concerning the benefits of such actions. Finally, as previous research has questioned the assumption of using a single preference structure when combining revealed and stated preference data (see Huang et al. 1997), we also estimate additional model specifications that allow travel cost preferences to vary across the different trip counts to examine whether preferences are impacted by stated preference elicitation strategies or changes in site quality attributes.