Modeling the effect of social factors on improving biodiversity protection
The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of social factors (expressed as social and institutional trust social norms, and social networks) on the decision of individuals to pay for improvement of environmental protection of biodiversity. For this purpose an empirical study was carried out in two National Parks of Northern Greece. Three scenarios were proposed differing in the management options (regulatory, market-based and community-based scenarios) and the payment mechanism. Our empirical results show that social capital variables, especially social norms and social trust, have a strong influence both on the decision of individuals to pay and the specific amount stated. Specifically, we find that social norms have a positive influence for the willingness to pay (WTP) of individuals of a state-tax and an entrance fee (regulatory and market-based scenario respectively). Furthermore, social trust has a positive impact for the WTP through an entrance fee and a community tax (market-based and community-based scenario respectively). We also find a higher WTP of individuals towards the market based scenario where participation of citizens is higher compared to the current management status. Concerning the impact of demographic factors, we find that income does not influence the specific amount stated by individuals. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.