Using Choice Experiment Data to Estimate the Value of a Statistical Species

Emily Rae Forsythe, Purdue University


Wildlife species generate value through their consumptive and non-consumptive uses. Consumptive uses of these species include hunting and trapping, while wildlife watching is an example of a non-consumptive use. Understanding the value of various wildlife is imperative for public agencies’ management decisions regarding different wildlife areas (e.g., nature preserves, state forests/parks, reservoirs, county/city parks). Individuals’ values for wildlife interactions on public lands can depend on the context in which these interactions occur as well as the probability of an interaction occurring. We utilize a stated preference choice experiment to estimate Indiana residents’ willingness to pay (WTP) for a marginal increase in the chance of seeing white-tailed deer and five furbearing species (bobcat, coyote, river otter, raccoon, red fox) while engaging in their favorite activities at Indiana recreational areas. Our WTP estimates are analogous to value of statistical life (VSL) calculations, and hence we refer to them as the “value of a statistical species” (VSS). We find that the VSS of a bobcat ranges from $22.73 to $41.30, the VSS of a coyote ranges from -$1.94 to $9.74, the VSS of a raccoon ranges from $5.25 to $21.69, the VSS of a red fox ranges from $43.31 to $62.52, the VSS of a white-tailed deer ranges from $22.70 to $27.00, and the VSS of a river otter ranges from $23.18 to $45.98. Our analysis suggests that individuals’ values for wildlife depend on the activity they are undertaking when they see the wildlife.




Reeling, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology|Demography|Economics|Gender studies|Psychology|Recreation|Sociology

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