Thursday, December 02, 2010

Who is afraid of the big bad wolf?

Isn't all economics about "animal instincts"?

Surely it must be "rational" to be a little scared of large man-eating animals? 2455 Swedes cannot be wrong.

It appears that we are rational which is not so good for wolves in Sweden.

The perhaps, not so shocking news, is that those who are scared of large carnivores are less likely to pay to have them on the doorstep.

Beware of the wolf: Is animal fear affecting willingness to pay for conservation of large carnivores?

Date: 2010-05-03

By: Brännlund, Runar (CERE)
Johansson, Maria (Department of Architecture and Built Environment)
Karlsson, Jens (Grimsö Wildlife Research Station)
Sjöström, Magnus (Department of Economics)


From an interdisciplinary approach, this study aims at analysing self-reported animal fear, specifically large carnivore fear, in relation to public willingness to financially contribute to fulfil a governmental policy on large carnivore-induced costs. In a survey of 2455 Swedes, it was found that people whose animal fear was directed particularly towards large carnivores, were less likely to be willing to pay (WTP), or were likely to be willing to pay a lower amount of money. In the prediction of WTP, the contribution of the fear variables was equally important as the socio-economic factors. From a management point of view it seems urgent to understand what kinds of measures that may reduce human fear of large carnivores. It is also suggested that further studies should include standardised measures of anxiety and fear in order to be able to closer link the results of large carnivore fear to the psychological literature on human fears.

Keywords: Carnivores; willingness-to-pay
JEL: Q51


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