Agricultural and Resource Economics

Public and expert values for the Swan River

In analysing values for environmental and social outcomes for the Swan River, we need to know whether expert and public preferences diverge.

When considering options for investment that have public impacts, organisations often rely on expert judgements on the assumption that they reflect public preferences.

However, experts differ from the public in many ways, so their preferences may also vary. In some circumstances, public and expert preference divergence may seriously detract from the quality of decision making.

Using choice modelling experiments this project will identify, in quantitative terms, any divergence between expert and public preferences for a range of environmental and social outcomes for the Swan and Canning river systems in Western Australia.

Our partner organisation, the Swan River Trust, is strongly involved in the project. For the Trust, the research will offer an understanding as to where public consultation and communication efforts are most needed.

Funding: ARC Linkage and Swan River Trust

Period: January 2011 to December 2012


Previous research on the topic

This project builds upon previous research into public and expert preference comparisons for environmental assets.

Past case studies include:

  • The Ningaloo Marine Park
  • The proposed Ngari Capes Marine Park
  • Kimberley's tropical waterways and wetlands
  • The Southwest Australia Ecoregion

Instances of preference divergence and convergence between the public and experts have been found across these case studies.

Research on the Swan River offers the opportunity to investigate a case of a narrowly defined asset which will be familiar to respondents, to complement the other case studies which have reflected broader or regional assets.

For more information on previous research, see the Environmental Economics Research Hub project Divergence between public and expert valuation of environmental assets.



Agricultural and Resource Economics

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Last updated:
Thursday, 24 April, 2014 11:29 AM