Accounting for environmental attitude to explain variations in willingness to pay for forest ecosystem services using the new environmental paradigm

In the environmental psychology literature, the new environmental paradigm (NEP) scale has been used to measure environmental attitude as a multidimensional concept. This study is conducted based on this multidimensionality concept to analyse willingness to pay for forest management targeting non-use value ecosystem services. In most previous studies, the NEP scale has been considered as a unidimensional measure and directly incorporated into the modelling. Here, we outline the relevance of considering such multidimensionality of the NEP scale using a different modelling procedure. This is performed following two modelling approaches (1) a random parameters logit model where the NEP score is incorporated directly and (2) a hybrid choice model in which latent variables identified from the NEP scale are incorporated in simultaneous equations setup. In both models, the environmental attitude influences preferences and willingness to pay estimates, but the first one ignoring the multidimensionality tends to exaggerate its impact. The hybrid choice model shows slightly lower statistical performance. However, in this model, the use of two latent variables reveal a non-uniform effect and thereby clearly shows the relevance of considering a multidimensional NEP scale for a better understanding of variations.