Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

CERE Working Papers,
CERE - the Center for Environmental and Resource Economics

No 2016:18: Priorities and preferences in the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive - A case study of the river Alsterån

Kristina Ek () and Lars Persson ()
Additional contact information
Kristina Ek: Luleå University of Technology, Economics unit, Postal: Luleå University of Technology, Economics unit, SE-97187 Luleå, Sweden
Lars Persson: CERE and the Department of Economics, Umeå University, Postal: Department of Economics, Umeå University, S-901 87, Umeå, Sweden

Abstract: This paper elicits local and semi-local citizens’ preferences for water quality attributes explicitly related to the water framework directive. A river basin in southeast of Sweden is used as a case study. The sample consists of 502 respondents living in the municipalities through which the river passes, or neighboring municipalities. By the use of a choice experiment tailored to the specific case study area, the paper analyzes public attitudes and willingness to pay for selected attributes related to water quality management. The attributes and their corresponding levels are based on real criteria for ecological water status, used in the implementation of the WFD in the river basin. Although participants live in or close to the catchment area, the results reveal a general lack of knowledge and interest in matters related to the environmental quality of the river. All attributes included in the choice experiment proved to have a statistically significant impact on the choice probabilities. There was however no significant evidence that the preferences differ between respondents with regard to self reported previous experience or knowledge about the water body, nor with regard to differences in recreational habits in the area. The results can potentially be used as inputs in practical policy making with its inevitable trade offs and priorities.

Keywords: choice experiment; Water framework directive; water quality; willingness to pay

JEL-codes: Q25; Q50; Q53; Q57

23 pages, December 12, 2016

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