ESSAYS ON NON-MARKET VALUATION OF MICROPLASTIC POLLUTION IN VARIOUS CONTEXTS
The overarching theme of this research is about environmental microplastic pollution, and how much various entities are willing to sacrifice economically to obtain a cleaner environment. To gauge such willingness, this research utilizes various economic measures that have been widely used, albeit with novel modifications. The focus of this research is on stated preferences about microplastic pollution. The topic of microplastics is still very novel, and market players on the demand side or on the supply side have yet to provide products that deal with this new pollutant. This lack has necessitated the need for stated preference research. This research delves into this novel environmental problem from various viewpoints.
Chapter 1 of this research is about how much the US adult population is willing to sacrifice to obtain an environment that is less impacted by microplastic pollution. The results show that US adults in general possess a willingness to obtain an environment free from microplastics. However, a sizable minority of US adults do not show such willingness as well. Such results remained true even when information about microplastic pollution were provided to all respondents before preference elicitation.
Chapter 2 investigates how much consumers in different countries will diverge about their willingness to pay for seafood that has less microplastic contamination. The countries chosen differed widely in their seafood consumption habits. Thus, it was hypothesized that such differences will lead to contrasts in their willingness to pay for less contaminated seafood. The hypothesis was found to be true but not in the way that was expected. The results show that frequent consumers of seafood had less willingness to pay when compared to others, although in whole all consumers showed willingness to avoid microplastics in their seafood.
Chapter 3 makes use of the same data as Chapter 2 but looks at possible reasons for the disparity in responses besides factors explored in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 focuses on the cultural differences to explain the differences in behavior. To do so, it utilizes the Value-Belief-Norm theory widely employed in past research but modifies it to account for a form of hypothetical bias. The research delves into the relationships between many factors of interest that affect environmentally friendly consumption behavior and the findings show that a certain cultural tendency is central to such behavior, at least for microplastics.
The research has done its best to research into the economic relationship between microplastic contamination of the environment and how much various individuals are willing to sacrifice to obtain an environment that is less impacted by such pollution. The findings here show that there is room for improvement in the way the microplastic pollution problem is being handled. However, in all settings the results show that a sizable majority want to be less impacted by microplastic pollution, a key takeaway for all interested parties.
- Doctor of Philosophy
- Agricultural Economics
- West Lafayette