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Testing the limits of temporal stability: Willingness to pay values among Grand Canyon whitewater boaters across decades

February 18, 2018

We directly compare trip willingness to pay (WTP) values between 1985 and 2015 stated preference surveys of private party Grand Canyon boaters using identically designed valuation methods. The temporal gap of 30 years between these two studies is well beyond that of any tests of WTP temporal stability in the literature. Comparisons were made of mean WTP estimates for four hypothetical Colorado River flow level scenarios. WTP values from the 1985 survey were adjusted to 2015 levels using the consumer price index. Mean WTP precision was estimated through simulation. No statistically significant differences were detected between the adjusted Bishop et al. (1987) and the current study mean WTP estimates. Examination of pooled models of the data from the studies suggest that while the estimated WTP values are stable over time, the underlying valuation functions may not be, particularly when the data and models are corrected to account for differing bid structures and possible panel effects.