A nationwide survey was conducted to estimate welfare associated with large-scale wetland restoration in coastal Louisiana. Binary- and multinomial-choice survey instruments were administered via Knowledge Networks, using the latter to estimate willingness to pay (WTP) for increments in three ecosystem services: wildlife habitat provision, storm surge protection, and fisheries productivity. Results indicate that confidence in government agencies, political leanings, and “green” lifestyle choices were significant explanatory factors. All three ecosystem services significantly affected project support, with increased fisheries productivity having the largest marginal effect, followed by improved storm surge protection and increased wildlife habitat. Mean household WTP, in the form of a one-time tax, is estimated to be $909 (confidence interval $732–$1,185), with resource users being willing to pay substantially more. This figure implies a mean aggregate willingness to pay of $105 billion (confidence interval $84–$136 billion) in excess of the State of Louisiana's estimated $50 billion cost for a statewide restoration program similar to the hypothetical restoration in this study.
JEL Codes: Q51, Q57.