Measuring SocialPreferences forRural Development in Southern Europe

Document Type: Original Research Paper

Authors

1 CantabrianAgricultural Research Centre (CIFA), C/ Héroes 2 deMayo 27, 39600Muriedas, Cantabria, Spain

2 Forest Research Centre (CIFOR), National Institute forAgriculture and Food Research and Technology(INIA), Ctra. deLa Coruña km. 7,5, 28040Madrid, Spain. Sustainable Forest Management Research Institute, University of Valladolid &INIA, Avda. de Madrid 57, 34004 Palencia, Spain

Abstract

It is a well-known result in both environmental economics and natural resources management
that you will not be able to manage what you are not able to measure. This paper presents a dichotomous-choice
contingent valuation survey that analyses individuals’ preferences for the implementation of a rural development
program (RDP) that fosters the provision of non-commodity outputs in rural areas in Southern Europe. In order
to account for the fact that some of the respondents show unwillingness to pay for the program, out-of-themarket
individuals have been identified. According to the results of our behavioral models, prospective positive
welfare changes due to policy implementation constitute a sound argument in favor of regional RDPs. Finally,
higher levels of social legitimacy and social support towards RDPs will be inextricably related to the issue of
being able to communicate to the wider public what the potential outcomes and expected potential benefits of
RDPs will be.

Keywords