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2009 Economics Research Working Papers

2009 Research

  • Benefit Transfer from Multiple Contingent Experiments: A Flexible Two-Step Model Combining Individual Choice Data with Community Characteristics [PDF]
    Authors: Klaus Moeltner, Robert J. Johnston and Randall S. Rosenberger Abstract: This study proposes a new approach to utilize information from existing choice experiments to predict policy outcomes for a transfer setting. Recognizing the difficulties from pooling raw data from experiments with different designs and sub-populations we first re-estimate all underlying Random Utility Models individually, and then combine them in a second stage process to form a weighted mixture density for the generation of policy-relevant welfare estimates. Using data from recent choice experiments on farmland preservation we illustrate that our strategy is more robust to transfer inaccuracies than single-site approaches. The specification of "intelligent" mixture weights will be a fruitful ground for future research in the area of Benefit Transfer.
  • Invasive Weeds, Wildfire, and Rancher Decision Making in the Great Basin [PDF]
    Authors: Kobayashi, M. and Rollins, K. Abstract: A numerical dynamic model is developed to characterize the decision problem of a rancher operating on rangelands in northern Nevada that are affected by invasive annual grasses and wildfire. The model incorporates decisions about herd size management of a cow-calf operation and fuels treatment to reduce the size of rangeland wildfires. Currently, high transactions costs to obtain permits to implement land treatments on federally-owned rangeland appear to limit rancher involvement. The results of the model suggest that, even if the transactions are removed, ranch income motives alone are likely insufficient for private ranchers to adopt preventative land treatments. The current treatment cost ($20 per acre at the minimum) appears to be prohibitively expensive relative to the benefits derived from the treatments under the low-productivity, semi-arid rangeland conditions.
  • Religion, Religiosity and Educational Attainment of Immigrants to the USA [PDF]
    Authors: Mukhopadhyay S. Abstract: This paper quantifies the association between religions, religiosity and educational attainment of new lawful immigrants to the U.S. This paper considers a broad set of religions that includes most of the major religions of the world. Using data from the New Immigrant Survey (2003), we show that affiliation with religion is not necessarily associated with an increase in educational attainment. Muslim and “Other religion” immigrants have less education compared to the immigrants who are not affiliated with any religion. However, affiliation with the Jewish religion is associated with higher educational attainment for males. With regard to religiosity, our results show that high religiosity is associated with lower educational attainment, especially for females. We also outline alternative frameworks that provide insight about the mechanisms that link religion and religiosity with educational attainment.
  • Valuing the Prevention of an Infestation: The Threat of the New Zealand Mud Snail in Northern Nevada [PDF]
    Authors: Allison Davis and Klaus Moeltner Abstract: The Truckee / Carson / Walker River Watershed in Northern Nevada is under an imminent threat of infestation by the New Zealand Mud Snail, an aquatic nuisance species with the potential to harm recreational fisheries. We combine a utility-theoretic system-demand model of recreational angling with a Bayesian econometric framework to provide estimates of trip and welfare losses under different types of regulatory control policies. We find that such losses can be substantial, warranting immediate investments in preemptive strategies via public outreach and awareness campaigns.

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