1995 Albemarle-Pamlico Sounds Economic Survey

Data Appendix

John Whitehead
Department of Economics
East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina

Data Description

In General...

The data for this study is from a 1995 telephone survey conducted by the East Carolina University Survey Research Laboratory. The survey used a random digit dialing sampling scheme. The sample was purchased from Survey Sampling, Inc. and interviews were computer assisted. Of the households that were contacted, 1077 respondents provided data for an overall response rate of 75%.

The demographic profile of the sample is similar to that of Eastern North Carolina. The sample is 43% male, 54% married, 65% white, and 47% are employed full-time. The median age of the sample is 42 and the median education level is 13 years. Household income was elicited in categories. Twelve percent of households earned less than $10,000 and between $10,001 and $15,000, 11% of households earned between $15,001 and $20,000, 14% of households earned between $20,001 and $25,000, 10% earned between $25,001 and $30,000, 24% earned between $30,001 and $50,000, 12% earned between $50,001 and $75,000 and 5% earned above $75,001. With income levels coded at the midpoints of the income ranges (the upper range was coded as $85,000) the mean and median household income is $31,550 and $27,500. Except for race, none of the demographic variables are different between the P and A-P versions of the survey. The A-P sample has more white respondents than the P sample ( 2=3.94[1 df]).

The TRAVCOST variable was constructed as follows. For respondents living west of the Pamlico River, the distance was calculated as the distance from the respondent's county population center to Washington, NC on the Pamlico River. If the respondent lived North or South of the Pamlico River, the distance was calculated as distance from the county population center to the nearest boat ramp on the Sound. Distances were calculated using the Automap software package. The travel cost used is $.20 per mile, average miles per hour is 50, and the opportunity cost of travel time is valued at the wage rate (wage=INCOME/2080). We assume that all trips are day trips so the cost of on-site time is zero.

There are two main versions of the telephone survey. Version 1 contained a contingent market for the Pamlico Sound and Version 2 contained a contingent market for the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. The main difference in the two versions is the insertion of "Albemarle and" before Pamlico in all questions and the addition of the plural to Sound(s). There are four types of questions in the contingent market.

Revealed Behavior

The first group of questions elicited information about respondents' knowledge about and recreation participation and intensity on the Sound(s). The Pamlico Sound version began with: "Now I would like you to think about the Pamlico Sound, which is one of the large bodies of water in Eastern North Carolina near the Outer Banks. The Pungo, Tar-Pamlico, and Neuse Rivers flow into the Pamlico Sound. In general, how much do you know about the resources, uses, and problems of the Pamlico Sound? Would you say a lot (7% for both versions), some (15%), a little (32%), or nothing (42%)?" The A-P version differed only in that respondents were asked to think about the " . . . Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, which are the large bodies of water in Eastern North Carolina near the Outer Banks. The Roanoke, Chowan, Perquimans, Pasquotank, and Alligator Rivers flow into the Albemarle Sound and the Pungo, Tar-Pamlico, and Neuse Rivers flow into the Pamlico Sound."

Using chi-square tests on the frequencies of responses, there are no differences between the two survey versions on knowledge of water quality problems. Ordered logit regression analysis is also performed to assess the determinants of knowledge and to test for differences between the two survey versions holding demographic variables constant. Respondent knowledge is higher for the Pamlico Sound version of the survey (p=.099). Respondents are likely to know more about water quality problems in the Sounds as education increases and if the respondent is a white male.

Past and future outdoor recreation participation was next elicited with the question: "Now I would like to ask you about any outdoor recreational activities you may have done on the Pamlico Sound. By recreational activities, I mean fishing, hunting, swimming, boating, skiing, windsurfing, birdwatching, camping, and so on. Did you participate in any recreational activities on or near the Pamlico Sound during the past 12 months?" Respondents who did participate (20%) were then asked "About how many trips did you take during the past 12 months?" and "About how many trips do you think you will take during the next 12 months?" Of those who participate, the average number of trips last year is 10 and 12 for next year. Respondents who did not participate were asked "Do you plan to participate in any recreational activities on or near the Pamlico Sound during the next 12 months?" and "About how many trips do you think you will take during the next 12 months?" Of those responding yes (n=49), the average number of trips is 3. Respondents in the Pamlico Sound version were asked about any other trips they took: "Other than at the Pamlico Sound, did you participate in any outdoor recreational activities during the past 12 months?" and "Where did you go for these trips?" Only 4% went to the Albemarle Sound while 59% went to the ocean/beach, 14% went to the mountains, 14% went to lakes, 13% went to rivers, and 18% went to other places. These numbers sum to greater than 100% due to multiple answers.

In the A-P version of the survey, if respondents had participated in recreation they were asked about current and future trips with the question "Where did you go for these trips, the Albemarle Sound (27%), the Pamlico Sound (41%), or both (32%)?" Respondents who did participate (20%) were then asked "About how many trips did you take during the past 12 months?" and "About how many trips do you think you will take during the next 12 months?" Of those who participate, the average number of trips last year is 13 and 17 for next year. All respondents were asked: "Other than at the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, did you participate in any outdoor recreational activities during the past 12 months?" (53% responded "yes"). Due to space limitations, only those respondents who had not participated in recreation on the A-P Sounds were asked where these trips took place (n=400), only 2% went to the Albemarle Sound, 64% went to the ocean/beach, 2% went to the mountains, 10% went to lakes, 9% went to rivers, and 14% went to other places. Respondents who did not participate were then asked "Do you plan to participate in any recreational activities on or near the Pamlico Sound during the next 12 months?" and "About how many trips do you think you will take during the next 12 months?" Of those responding yes (n=53), the average number of trips is 2.5. Using chi-square tests on the frequencies of responses, there are no differences between the two survey versions on recreation participation based on past or future trips.

Perceptions About the Policy Scenario

The policy scenario was established next with a series of questions about respondents' concern about water pollution, support for tougher laws, and perceived effectiveness of these laws. These questions are designed to explain the pollution problem and the proposed policy and also to get respondents thinking about how much they value the policy. Again, for the A-P Version "Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds" was substituted for "Pamlico Sound."

The pollution problem was described with the question: "Since 1981, fish catches have declined by over sixty percent and pollution has closed about twenty-five percent of the shellfish beds in the Pamlico Sound. How concerned are you about water pollution and damage to fish and wildlife habitat in the Pamlico Sound? Are you very concerned (46% for both versions), concerned (39%), slightly concerned (10%), or not concerned (5%)?" Using chi-square tests on the frequencies of responses, there are no differences between the two survey versions on concern about water quality problems. In the ordered logit regression analysis the survey version has no effect on concern about water quality problems. Respondents who have higher education levels and who are younger are more likely to express concern.

The proposed environmental policy was described as: "Chemicals, livestock waste, and soil erosion from farming can cause water pollution. Some commercial fishing practices, such as trawling and mechanical harvesting, can damage fish and wildlife habitat. Tougher laws that would require farmers to control pollution and that would restrict some fishing practices have been proposed for the Pamlico Sound. Do you strongly support (28% for both versions), support (62%), oppose (8%), or strongly oppose (2%) tougher pollution control laws?" The proposed change in water quality is a "restoration" of water quality and fish and wildlife habitat in the Sounds: "The goal of these laws would be to restore water quality and fish and wildlife habitat to the 1981 levels in the Pamlico Sound. How effective do you think these laws would be? Do you think they would be very effective (15% for both versions), somewhat effective (60%), slightly ineffective (20%), or not effective (6%)?"

Using chi-square tests on the frequencies of responses, there are no differences between the two survey versions on support for or perceived effectiveness of the policy. The ordered logit analysis also finds that the survey version has no effect on support for the proposed policy or perceived effectiveness. Respondents who have higher education levels, who are older, and are married are more likely to support the proposed policy. Respondents who are female, unmarried, and non-white are more likely to perceive the proposed policy to be effective.

Contingent Behavior

The next question elicited information about contingent recreation behavior with improved quality. Respondents were asked: "After enforcement of the tougher pollution control laws do you think that you would participate in any recreational activities on or near the (Albemarle and) Pamlico Sound(s) during the next 12 months?" If they answered "yes" (42% for Pamlico and 44% for A-P versions) they were then asked "About how many trips do you think you would take during the next 12 months?" The average number of trips was 6.6 and 8.5 for the Pamlico and A-P Versions. If they answered "no" they were asked why: "What is the main reason why you won't participate in any recreational activities?" with "not enough income" (2%), "too far to travel" (17%), "other places are better" (26%), "don't like recreation"(7%), "laws not effective" (n=1) and "water not clean enough"(1%) as possible answers while 47% gave some other reason. Using chi-square tests on the frequencies of responses, there are no differences between the two survey versions on or recreation participation based future trips with current quality and future trips with improved quality.

Contingent Valuation

The next series of questions established the contingent market with double bounded dichotomous choice questions and reasons for the CV answers. The payment obligation and payment vehicle were established with the following statement directly preceding the initial dichotomous choice question: "State government would need more tax money to enforce these tougher pollution control laws. Tougher pollution control laws would also mean higher consumer prices. It would cost you and your household about $PT1, each year, in higher prices and taxes. Remember, the goal would be to restore water quality and fish and wildlife habitat to 1981 levels in the Pamlico Sound only, other water bodies and wildlife habitat areas would not be affected. Would you be willing to pay $PT1, each year out of your own household budget, in higher prices and taxes?" The price and tax amounts, $[PT], were randomly selected from four amounts: 100, 200, 300, 400. If respondents answered "yes" ("no" or "don't know") they were then asked the follow-up: "Would you be willing to pay $PT2 (PT2 is equal to [2 x PT1] if first answer was "yes" and [.5 x PT1] if "no") each year?" Thirty-one percent of respondents answered "yes" to the initial question and 21% answered "yes" to the second question. Sixty percent of respondents answered "no" to the initial question and 67% answered "no" to the second question. Nine percent of respondents answered "don't know" to the initial question and 12% answered "don't know" to the second question.

If respondents answered either the initial or follow-up value elicitation question with a "yes," the reasons for this value were probed with an open-ended question for which respondents could give as many reasons as they wanted. The initial answers given (n=344) were "for better recreation" (4%), "for future generations" (12%), "for friends and family" (2%), "for fish and wildlife" (29%), "it's the right thing to do (4%), "it sounds like a good cause (8%)," "I want a clean environment" (24%), or some other reason (8%). Respondents who gave as their initial answer reasons indicating that they were paying for moral satisfaction or warm glow ("it is the right thing to do", "it sounds like a good cause") were flagged as outliers. The answer "I want a clean environment" was also considered for flagging since it might indicate perceived payment for the environment in general and not for specific improvements in the A-P Sounds. These responses were not flagged after consideration of other reasons given for payment and respondent characteristics suggested that they did value specific improvements (i.e., they participate in recreation on the Pamlico Sound).

If the answers to both of the valuation questions were "no" the respondents then were asked: "What is the most important reason why you would not be willing to pay?" Answers given (n=642) include "cost is too high" (10%), "polluters should pay" (5%), "I don't trust government" (5%), "I'm already paying enough in taxes' (26%), "the environment is clean enough" (2%), "I don't like hypothetical questions" (n=1), "I don't have enough income" (10%), "I don't think the laws will be effective" (13%), "other areas are clean enough" (7%), or some other reason (15%). Most of the responses suggested that reasons related to high cost, budget constraints, or a lack of value for the improvement were the primary reasons for not being willing to pay. If respondents indicated that they rejected the payment vehicle or rule ("polluters should pay," "I don't trust government") or the contingent market ("I don't like hypothetical questions," I don't think the laws will be effective") were considered protest responses and flagged. The answer "I'm already paying enough in taxes" was also considered for flagging since it might indicate rejection of the payment vehicle. An alternative interpretation is that these respondents could not afford to pay higher taxes so they were not flagged.

If the answers to both of the valuation questions were "don't know" the respondents then were asked: "What is the most important reason why you would not be willing to pay?" Answers given (n=78) include "cost is too high" (32%), "polluters should pay" (3%), "I don't trust government" (6%), "I'm already paying enough in taxes' (15%), "I don't have enough income" (6%), "I don't think the laws will be effective" (n=1), "other areas are clean enough" (5%), or some other reason (19%). Protest responses were again flagged. Overall, 17% of respondents who answered at least "don't know" were flagged as protests or outliers for various reasons.

Variables

Yes1

YES=1/NO=2 response to first dichotomous choice question, don't knows are missing

Yes1DK

YES=1/NO=2 response to first dichotomous choice question, don't knows are coded as NO

PT1

Randomly assigned price and tax increase for quality improvement equal to $100, $200, $300, and $400

Yes2

YES=1/NO=2 response to second dichotomous choice question, don't knows are missing

Yes2DK

YES=1/NO=2 response to second dichotomous choice question, don't knows are coded as NO

PT2

"Double bound" assigned price and tax increase for quality improvement equal to $50, $100, $150, $200, $300, $400, $600, and $800

Flag

Flag=1 if Yes1 response is a protest or outlier, 0 otherwise

Flagdk

Flag=1 if Yes1dk response is a protest or outlier, 0 otherwise

Trips1

Number of recreational visits to the Pamlico or A-P Sounds during the past 12 months

Trips2

Planned number of recreational visits to the Pamlico or A-P Sounds during the past 12 months (with the same quality)

Trips2q

Planned number of recreational visits to the Pamlico or A-P Sounds during the past 12 months with improved same quality

Income

Household income (1995 dollars)

Workfull

Dummy variable for whether the respondent is employed fulltime, workfull=1 if fulltime employed, zero otherwise

Educ

Respondent education in years

Age

Respondent's age

Sex

Respondent's sex, female = 1, male = 2

Married

Marital status, married=1, 0 otherwise

House

Household size including children

Race

Race=1 if white, 0 otherwise

County

Eastern North Carolina county, range=1-41(see below for codes)

Know

Knowledge of the resources, uses, and problems of the Sounds, a lot = 4, some=3, a little=2, nothing=1

Concern

Concern about water pollution and damage to fish and wildlife habitat in the Sounds, very concerned=4, concerned=3, slightly concerned=2, not concerned=1

Support

Support for tougher laws to control agricultural nonpoin source pollution and restrict some commercial fishing practices, strongly support=4, support=3, oppose=2, strongly oppose=1

Effect

Effectiveness of tougher laws to restore water quality and fish and wildlife habitat, very effective=4, effective=3, slightly ineffective=2, not effective=4

Pamlico

Pamlico Sound dummy variable=1 if Pamlico Sounds version, =0 if Albemarle-Pamlico (A-P) Sounds version

DP

One-way distance to little Washington at the head of the Pamlico River which flows to the Pamlico Sound (or distance to nearest water access, usually a boat ramp, on the Pamlico Sound)

DA

One-way distance to Edenton at the head of the Albemarle Sound

DN

One-way distance to New Bern at the confluence of the Trent and Neuse Rivers which flow to Pamlico Sound

DF

One-way distance to Wilmington on the Cape Fear River

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Contact: John Whitehead
Last update:
April 25, 1997