Public and expert preference divergence: evidence from a choice experiment of marine reserves in Australia

This study investigates whether public and expert preferences diverge in a valuation of two marine reserves in Western Australia.  Identical choice experiments are applied to a sample of marine scientists and the West Australian community. Evidence of both divergence and convergence between public and expert values is found, with public awareness factors helping to explain differences of opinion. This result implies that, in instances of divergence, it may be preferable to support potential environmental policies through community awareness campaigns, rather than using uninformed public preferences in policy design.

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