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Individual preferences regarding environmental offset and welfare compensation: a choice experiment application to an offshore wind farm project

Kermagoret, Charlène, Levrel, Harold, Carlier, Antoine, Dachary-Bernard, Jeanne
Ecological economics 2016 v.129 pp. 230-240
assets, development projects, ecological restoration, environmental impact, environmental markets, models, surveys, wind farms
This paper uses the choice experiment method to investigate the preferences of local communities with respect to various compensatory measures in connection with a development project. A survey was conducted among recreational users of the bay of Saint-Brieuc, where an offshore wind farm is currently planned. The goal is to identify the preferences of the bay's users with respect to various compensation possibilities: monetary compensation, investment in publicly owned assets, or the ecological restoration. Two multinomial logit (MNL) models and a latent class (LC) model are used to explore the preferences and some sources of heterogeneity within the community. The results of this study show that form of compensation is an important determinant of preferences and has an effect on the acceptability towards the compensation principle. More precisely, results shows that compensation is better accepted if it obeys the principle of strong sustainability, which includes ecological restoration for the gain of the population as a whole and which excludes monetary transactions, associated with the bribe effect. The study also highlights the naturalists' specific attitude for who compensation should be determined within a regulatory framework, one which imposes compensatory measures related to objectively determined ecological impacts.