Optimal policy design for upgrading on-site residential wastewater treatment
Calhoun, Kayla Ariel
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When exploring environmental policy options, sometimes neither the current state of the environmental good being analyzed nor the effectiveness of the proposed policy is known with certainty. The issue under consideration in this study is the current state of water quality in Gwinnett County, Georgia, and the effectiveness of a particular policy on improving water quality. This thesis presents results of a choice experiment designed to elicit preferences for attributes of a countywide septic system upgrade program in Gwinnett County, Georgia, where the current state of water quality and effectiveness of the program are uncertain. Within the experiment are three models which have different defined levels of risk of poor water quality for the status quo alternative. Uncertainty is incorporated over policy outcomes by specifying the upgrade effectiveness attribute as a reduction in risk of failure to meet water quality standards. Results indicate that the status quo specification does impact individual preferences and estimated welfare measures, and the probability of water quality failure attribute has a significant impact on individuals’ choice decisions.