Abstract: "This paper presents a case study of willingness-to-pay (WTP) estimation using random valuation models. A contingent valuation survey was conducted in Yerevan, Armenia to estimate people's WTP for the protection of Lake Sevan. Three elicitation formats - open-ended, closed-ended, and the stochastic payment card (SPC) approach - were used with split random samples. WTP models with heterogeneous errors were constructed and estimated with the survey data. The SPC approach produces a higher estimation of the mean WTP than both the open-ended and closed-ended approaches, while results from the open-ended and closed-ended elicitation formats are similar. Furthermore, contrary to research findings obtained in the United States, this study finds higher WTP estimations with mail surveys than with personal interviews. This paper - a product of the Infrastructure and Environment Team, Development Research Group is part of a larger effort in the group to understand the economics of sustainable development in developing countries"--World Bank web site.
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