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Willingness to pay for reduction in the health risks posed by emerging contaminants (PFASs) and microbial outbreaks in drinking water
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Social Sciences.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword [en]
perceived health risks, emerging contaminants PFASs, PFAA, PFC, PFOS, PFOA, microbial outbreaks, gastrointestinal infections
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-65730OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-65730DiVA: diva2:1142629
Available from: 2017-09-19 Created: 2017-09-19 Last updated: 2017-09-19
In thesis
1. The Economic Value and Use of Geological Information
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Economic Value and Use of Geological Information
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall purpose of this thesis is to investigate the economic value and use of geological information. Earthobservations of a geological nature, may have profound impacts on peoples everyday lives. Geological informationplays a key role in addressing the challenges of sustainable development, and contributes to improved decisionmakingprocesses related to, for instance, land degradation and water protection. Still, few have researched theeconomic values attached to such information. This thesis contains an introduction and five self-contained papers.Paper (I) provides a review of previous research addressing the economic value of geological information andother earth observations, as well as, related products, services and infrastructure. The paper also identifiesimportant lessons and topics that require increased attention in future research. The review of prior research showsthat significant economic benefits can be attached to the use of geological information. Still, it is often difficult tocompare results across studies since they differ in scope and make alternative assumptions concerning whichsectors to cover. Furthermore, previous research is not uniform in its treatment of potential (rather than onlyexisting) users, and it employs varying conceptions of avoided costs. The paper concludes that future researchshould devote more attention to the public and experience good characteristics of geological information and othertypes of earth observations, thus highlighting the preconditions for information adoption as well as addressing therole of potential users.Papers (II) and (III) investigate the determinants of adopting geological information in the public sector, with anemphasis on Swedish municipalities. Paper (II) contributes to the literature by providing theoretical explanationsand empirical findings on various individual and organizational factors influencing the adoption of geologicalinformation. The paper employs an information adoption model based on literature on diffusion of innovation. Itis estimated using data collected from 677 officials in all Swedish municipalities. The results indicate thatperceived usefulness and educational efforts have the largest influence on the adoption decision followed by agender effect. Furthermore, the results also show that organizational effects exist at the working unit level, butthere appear to be no spatial interactions across municipal boundaries.Paper (III) further investigates the adoption of geological information in the public sector by considering whetheranalyses of user patterns can be improved by considering an interrelated model estimation involving two types ofgeoinformation. The empirical tests focus on whether there are gender differences in how peer advice affects theuse of geoinformation. The information adoption model is estimated using probit and bivariate probits. Overall theresults indicate a more accurate prediction pattern when a secondary geoinformation decision was included, thussuggesting that different types of geoinformation should be analyzed jointly. The officials at Swedishmunicipalities tend to use both types of geoinformation, thus alluding to a demand for combined geoinformationproducts among the target population. Finally, there is evidence of women’s decisions to use geoinformation beingaffected by peer advice.Paper (IV) focuses on the economic value of hydrogeological information, namely water quality. The willingnessto pay (WTP) for reduced health risks following the exposure to emerging contaminants and microbial outbreaksin drinking water is assessed. Emerging contaminants, such as highly fluorinated substances (e..g., PFOA andPFOS), have been found in drinking water post treatment on a global level. The drinking water is the main sourceof exposure for humans. The WTP is assessed through a choice experiment approach, which also accounts fordifferences in perceptions between PFASs and microbial outbreaks due to parasites or bacteria. Knowledge aboutpublic preferences across different health threats is key to assessing support for policies aimed at reducing suchhealth risks. A majority of the respondents were found to have a higher WTP for reducing the risk of chemicalexposure to PFASs than reducing the corresponding risk of microbial outbreaks.In Paper (IV) it is evident that risk adverse individuals have a higher WTP for reducing health risks of drinkingwater, compared with individuals with other risk preferences. However, there is no consensus in the literature onhow to accurately capture risk preferences beyond financial decisions. Paper (V) therefore discusses thetheoretical assumptions used when measuring risk preferences and whether it is necessary to address domain riskspecific preferences. In order to test if a general risk preference is enough we present a hypothetical experimenton risk preferences for the health and financial domains, respectively. We also consider the design of theexperiment and compare the format with a reduced form to control for potential framing effects. The riskpreferences were elicited using switch multiple price list lotteries with hypothetical payments, and the questionswere adapted to the health domain by framing the lotteries as improvements in current health status using a visualanalogue scale as the reference point. The results show that individual risk preferences tend to be relativelyinconsistent across the two studied domains, and that the respondents appear to be more risk averse in the healthdomain than in the financial. The majority of the respondents tend to give too much weight to low-probabilityevents, which is consistent with cumulative prospect theory.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå tekniska universitet, 2017
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Keyword
geological information, earth observations, economic value, information adoption
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-65731 (URN)978-91-7583-969-1 (ISBN)978-91-7583-970-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-11-03, A109, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
The Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), 61-1451/2011
Available from: 2017-09-21 Created: 2017-09-19 Last updated: 2017-11-24Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • Other style
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