Meyerhoff J, Boeri M, Hartje V. The value of water quality improvements in the region Berlin-Brandenburg as a function of distance and state residency. Water resources and economics. 2014 May;5:49-66. doi: 10.1016/j.wre.2014.02.001.

This study uses a discrete choice experiment (DCE) to elicit willingness to pay estimates for changes in the water quality of three rivers. As many regions the metropolitan region Berlin-Brandenburg struggles to achieve the objectives of the Water Framework Directive until 2015. A major problem is the high load of nutrients. As the region is part of two states (Länder) and the river sections are common throughout the whole region we account for the spatial context twofold. Firstly, we incorporate the distance between each respondent and all river stretches in all MNL and RPL models, and, secondly, we consider whether respondents reside in the state of Berlin or Brandenburg. The compensating variation (CV) calculated for various scenarios shows that overall people would significantly benefit from improved water quality. The CV measures, however, also reveal that not considering the spatial context would result in severely biased welfare measures. While the distance decay effect lowers CV, state residency is connected to the frequency of status quo choices and not accounting for residency would underestimate possible welfare gains in one state. Another finding is that the extent of the market varies with respect to attributes (river stretches) and attribute levels (water quality levels).

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