Assessing subjective preferences for river quality improvements: combining Q-methodology and choice experiment data

Hampson, Danyel I., Ferrini, Silvia and Turner, R. Kerry (2022) Assessing subjective preferences for river quality improvements: combining Q-methodology and choice experiment data. Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy, 11 (1). pp. 56-74. ISSN 2160-6552

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Choice decisions are inherently subjective but capturing and explaining nuanced variation in respondents’ attitudes is difficult and needs more than the simple socio-demographic variables traditionally used in economic research. In recent years, environmental economists have been shifting towards a more holistic approach to economic valuation, making an increased use of psychology within behavioural economics, to better understand subjective preferences on the environment. This research applies a novel mixed-methods approach to integrate the results from a Q-methodological analysis, which reveals respondents’ latent traits and perceptions about river management, into a choice experiment which estimates respondents’ preferences for potential future improvements to river water quality. The purpose is to improve the quantification of subjectivity within stated preference experiments. Q-methodology reveals five statistically distinct narratives (characterised as Ecological, Financial, Leadership, Collaboration, Legislation) which define the main perspectives respondents hold for river management strategies. Choice experiment results suggest subjectivity causes significant differences in respondents’ choice behaviour. Statistically verified Q-methodological narratives provide plausible explanations for differences in respondents’ choice preferences regarding river water quality improvements. By triangulating between quantitative and qualitative research methods, we demonstrate a research strategy that can contribute to a better understanding of the impact socially contested perspectives have on respondents’ choice behaviour.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Special Issue: Valuing Water and Wastewater Services in the UK. Funding: Funding for this research was provided by Anglian Water [grant number U205216UCC] and the Catchment hydrology, Resources, Economics and Management (ChREAM) project, funded by the joint ESRC, BBSRC and NERC Rural Economy and Land programme [grant number RES-227-25-0024]. One of the authors was supported by the ESRC (ESRC National Centre for Research Methods, University of Southampton) grant [number ES/F023693/1] for the completion of their PhD.
Uncontrolled Keywords: q-methodology,discrete choice experiment,river water quality,environmental science (miscellaneous),economics and econometrics,management, monitoring, policy and law ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2300/2301
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2021 00:45
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2022 02:17
DOI: 10.1080/21606544.2021.1879682

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