Date of Award

1992

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

E. Jane Luzar

Abstract

Conjoint analysis is a recent evolution in mathematical psychology that has been employed extensively in the marketing environment. The technique is concerned with measuring the joint effect of two or more independent variables on the ordering of a dependent variable. Conjoint analysis relates an individual's preferences to a set of prespecified attributes. The objective of conjoint analysis is to decomposed a set of responses to factorially designed stimuli in which the utility of each stimuli attribute can be inferred from the respondents' evaluations of the stimuli. In addition, conjoint analysis and its economic foundations are developed in the context of conventional related market and non-market valuation approaches. Given the multiattribute nature of wetland based activities such as waterfowl hunting, conjoint analysis becomes an attractive approach in estimating the benefits and values derived from wetland based activities. An empirical and economic analysis is presented in which waterfowl hunters' willingness-to-pay for various hunting trip attributes is derived from a rank-ordered logit specification of the indirect utility function. The hunting trip vignettes are developed according to seven different attributes with each attribute varying across three levels using a fractional factorial experiment. The data for the analysis were derived from questionnaires mailed to 7,500 randomly selected individuals who purchased 1990 Louisiana duck stamps. The statistical estimation technique employed in this research was rank-ordered logit via weighted least squares. Weighted least squares was chosen due to the presence of heteroskedasticity and uncertainty regarding the properties of the error term which masks the efficiency of the ordinary least squares regression. A Box-Cox transformation was also employed to test for specification of the functional form. The results indicated that the length of the hunting season, the daily duck bag limit, and the rate of congestion were three significant factors influencing waterfowl hunters' trip rating preferences. In addition, conjoint analysis appears to be a viable technique for analysis of resource based multiattribute activities.

Pages

372

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