Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

Document Type



To respond to the environmental problems posed by disposable plastic bags, several mechanisms exist, such as bag taxes and bans, but such policies are infeasible in several U.S. states and municipalities. This study uses a social quasi-experiment to examine the effect of a voluntary token-donation program, which reduces disposable plastic bag use by providing a small charitable donation incentive. We find that the token-donation program reduces the probability of disposable bag use by 11.4–12.9 percentage points, representing about a 30%–34% decrease in bag use. Our results demonstrate effective mechanisms to reduce plastic bags exist without government-mandated policy.

Despite the widespread use of and demonstrated effect of nudges in Stated Preference studies, one potential issue is hypothetical bias (HB), the effect of the nudge may be different in the hypothetical elicitation compared to a real elicitation. We test HB in information nudge and information treatment using social norm and financial incentives information, respectively. We used the payment card elicitation format and employed Becker-DeGroot-Marschak (BDM) auction for generating real transactions. We observe conventional HB, with overstated hypothetical WTP. We find the effect of social norm on WTP is marginally significantly lower in hypothetical elicitation than in real. However, with certainty correction, no evidence of HB in information nudge and treatment.

The hedonic property price method is a common approach to estimate the implicit value of wetland to property owners. Wetland proximity is the most common attribute addressed by most wetland hedonic studies, but results are mixed, showing both positive and negative values of wetland proximity on housing prices. We conduct a meta-analysis of hedonic studies that have estimated the effect of wetland proximity on residential property value. We examine 21 wetland hedonics studies resulting in a dataset of 75 observations. We also utilize small-sample correction and machine learning techniques. The results show that when we ignore small-sample correction the effect size of wetland proximity on housing price is nominal but significant; however, the effect has no significant effect on housing prices with small-sample correction. The findings could be useful for policymakers for wetland management and land development decisions.



Committee Chair

Penn, Jerrod

Available for download on Wednesday, August 16, 2023