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Contrasting the effects of monetization of use value and non-use value on environmentally relevant behavior
Last registered on May 29, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Contrasting the effects of monetization of use value and non-use value on environmentally relevant behavior
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002040
Initial registration date
February 23, 2017
Last updated
May 29, 2017 2:19 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Skidmore College
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2016-01-29
End date
2017-06-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Economic valuation is used as a tool to estimate the value of cultural and natural resources for policy, planning, and marketing purposes, but the calculation and meaning of the resulting numbers is heavily contested. Part of the conflict arises because natural and cultural resources have significant use value in addition to any non-use value. This study is designed to contribute to the literature concerning how best to increase public support for the protection of natural resources. Specifically, this experiment sets out to determine whether or not individuals respond differently to the monetization of use and non-use value, building upon previous work which provided evidence that individuals may be sensitive to the monetization of natural resource value.

Two studies are used to examine this topic. In Study 1, a survey-based experiment was conducted using a sample of 1,000 United States residents through participation in the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES). To isolate differences in reactions to use and non-use valuation, the average willingness to contact a representative, willingness to vote in favor of increased funding, willingness to donate to the National Park Foundation, and additional dollars one would be willing to pay in taxes, is compared across four groups: (i) use only, (ii) use plus monetization of use value, (iii) non-use only, and (iv) non-use plus monetization of non-use value. Study 2 uses a sample of 500 United States residents recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk. In this study, outcome variables are similar to those in Study 1. However, rather than rely on stated willingness to donate, actual donations to the National Park Foundation are solicited. In addition, participants are asked to spend some time writing a pledge to engage in pro-environmental behavior throughout the coming year.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Goff, Sandra. 2017. "Contrasting the effects of monetization of use value and non-use value on environmentally relevant behavior." AEA RCT Registry. May 29. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2040-2.0.
Former Citation
Goff, Sandra. 2017. "Contrasting the effects of monetization of use value and non-use value on environmentally relevant behavior." AEA RCT Registry. May 29. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2040/history/18093.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Participants are randomly assigned to receive one of eight graphics. Graphics differ on the following dimensions: (i) presence of economic valuation information (Yes or No), (ii) benefit type (use or non-use), and (iii) source of information (business or non-profit). The graphics serve as the primary manipulation in the study and are meant to serve as a priming and/or framing device.

Intervention Start Date
2016-10-01
Intervention End Date
2017-05-27
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Primary outcome variables for Study 1 are: (i) willingness to contact a representative, (ii) willingness to vote for increased funding for the national park system, (iii) willingness to donate in support of America’s national parks, and (iv) additional dollars one would be willing to pay in taxes per year to protect and maintain the national parks.
Supplementary outcome variables of interest are: (1) attitudes toward: (i) the need to consider economic impacts when creating new national park and forest lands, (ii) putting monetary value on national parks, (iii) the need to preserve natural resources at any cost, (iv) the civic duty to protect national parks and forests, and (v) the rights of American children to have access to national parks, monuments, lands, and waters, (2) financial stress, and (3) feelings of obligation to others, particularly obligation to unknown others.

In Study 2, actual donation to the National Park Foundation replaces reported willingness to donate. An additional outcome variable is the participant's pledge to engage in pro-environmental behavior in the coming year.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In Study 1, a subset of the individuals recruited by YouGov to participate in the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) will be randomly assigned to receive one of eight versions of a fictitious flyer in support of national parks. After viewing the flyer, participants are asked to report their willingness to pay additional taxes to support national parks and their willingness to engage in pro-environmental behaviors, and to answer a few sets of attitudinal questions.
In Study 2, 500 individuals will be recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) to engage in a similar survey experiment. In this version of the study, rather than express their willingness to donate, participants are given the chance to donate $1 of their experimental earnings to the National Park Foundation. They are also asked if they would like to write out a pledge to engage in pro-environmental behavior in the coming year.
Experimental Design Details
Study 1: This survey-based experiment was conducted through participation in the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES). The study described herein is only one very small portion of the entire CCES work. Although the study was implemented in October and November of 2016, data is not expected to be received by study partners until March 2017. Within this study’s section of the CCES, participants are randomly assigned to receive one of eight graphics, the result of a 2 X 2 X 2 full-factorial design (please note that analysis is not full-factorial – see Analysis section for more information). Graphics differ on the following dimensions: (i) presence of economic valuation information (Yes or No), (ii) benefit type (use or non-use), and (iii) source of information (business or non-profit). The graphics serve as the primary manipulation in the study and are meant to serve as a priming and/or framing device. After viewing the graphic, participants express their agreement with a set of questions on a scale from 0 – 100: 1. When creating new national park and forest lands, it is important to consider economic impacts. (impact) 2. There is no way to put a dollar value on the worth of our national parks. (dollar) 3. Some natural resources are so important that they should be preserved at any cost. (preserve) 4. Americans have a civic duty to support their national parks and forests. (duty) 5. No matter who you are or where you live, every kid should be able to enjoy America’s parks, monuments, lands, and waters. (This question is a direct quote from President Obama in speaking about his Every Kid in a Park program.) (kids) After answering these questions, participants receive the following questions presented in random order: 1. Please indicate how many additional dollars you would be willing to pay in taxes per year to protect and maintain our national parks. Please use whole dollar amounts. (taxes) 2. How likely would you be … a. to write to your Senator or Representative to ask them to support our national park system? (write) b. to vote to increase funding for our national park system? (vote) c. to donate to the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks? (donate) Participants are also asked additional questions used to create composite variables measuring financial stress (finstress) and feelings of obligation to: unknown others (moral), close friends and family (close), their work/employer (work), and civic activities, particularly voting (civic). As a part of the overall CCES, participants are also asked a variety of additional demographic, socioeconomic, and political questions that are used within the present study. Details Regarding Graphics used as Priming/Framing Devices Each participant randomly receives a graphic meant to resemble a marketing device that could be used to attempt to increase support for national parks. The background for all graphics is the same photo; the photo contains mountains in the background, with a stream and flowers in the foreground. Each graphic also has the same statement in its lower third, “Tell Congress to support our National Park Service.” Economic Valuation Information The dollar value used in the economic valuation condition is kept constant at $28.5 billion per year, estimated roughly from a variety of sources. This study is not interested in the effect of particular dollar values, but rather the difference across groups based upon presence of economic valuation and benefit type. The only difference between the graphics with and without economic valuation, is that the statement at the top of the economic valuation study includes the text, “a benefit valued at over $28.5 billion per year.” Benefit Type The graphics used present the participant with one of two different types of benefit, use or non-use. The use value statement used is “National Parks provide outdoor recreational opportunities for all Americans.” This statement emphasizes the direct use benefit that individuals receive from the parks. The non-use value condition uses the statement “National Parks protect important lands for future generations.” This statement emphasizes existence value, not for the individual, but for future generations. Information Source Each graphic also lists as its source one of two fictitious organizations; the Center for Public Parks Conservation (meant to sound like a non-profit organization) or the Business Coalition of America (meant to sound like a business association). Study 2: In this second, follow-up study, 500 participants are recruited through the use of Amazon Mechanical Turk and are offered $2.25 for their work. This study uses a 2 X 2 between subjects factorial design (the source of information from Study 1 is eliminated). Outcome variables are identical to those in Study 1, except for two changes: (i) participants are given the opportunity to donate $1 of their experimental earnings to the National Park Foundation, replacing the stated willingness to donate from Study 1, and (ii) participants are asked if they would like to write out a pledge to engage in pro-environmental behavior over the coming year.
Randomization Method
Randomization is automatically performed by the survey software as programmed by YouGov (Study 1) and Qualtrics (Study 2).
Randomization Unit
Randomization is performed at the level of the individual.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
NA
Sample size: planned number of observations
Study 1: 1,000 individuals Study 2: 500 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Numbers are approximate:
Study1:
250 economic valuation & use benefit, 250 economic valuation & non-use benefit, 250 no economic valuation & use benefit, 250 no economic valuation & non-use benefit
Study 2:
125 economic valuation & use benefit, 125 economic valuation & non-use benefit, 125 no economic valuation & use benefit, 125 no economic valuation & non-use benefit
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Skidmore College
IRB Approval Date
2017-05-11
IRB Approval Number
1705-621
IRB Name
Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Skidmore College
IRB Approval Date
2016-07-20
IRB Approval Number
1607-521
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
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Is the intervention completed?
No
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Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS