Disentangling distance and country effects on the value of conservation across national borders

Coordination of conservation policies and conservation actions between countries is expected to reduce overall costs and increase effectiveness. It rests on the assumption that, as a global public good, the provision of biodiversity conservation is independent of geographical and political jurisdictions. However, from a welfare economic perspective this assumption requires testing and justification. Indeed, distance may matter, as may the country of provision. This study applies a choice experiment to estimate individuals' marginal willingness to pay for comparable biodiversity conservation measures and outcomes across country borders, and with different distances from their place of residence to conservation locations in Denmark and in Southern Sweden. The case is designed to distinguish the effect of distance from the effect of country of residence versus country of provision. We find a clear and distinguishable effect of both location and country of provision. We find distance-related attributes to reflect bridge tolls and per-kilometre transport costs, and Swedes and Danes to prefer provision in their own country, over provision in the neighbouring country. The results of this study may be useful in discussing cooperation on regional and even global biodiversity conservation efforts.