Does personal experience affect choice-based preferences for wildfire protection programs?This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
In this paper, we investigate homeowner preferences and willingness to pay for wildfire protection programs using a choice experiment with three attributes: risk, loss, and cost. A phone-mail-phone survey was used to collect data from homeowners predominantly living in medium and high wildfire risk communities in Florida. We tested three hypotheses: (1) homeowner preferences for wildfire protection programs are risk averse, (2) past personal experience with wildfires increases homeowners’ willingness to pay for protection programs, and (3) subjective perception of risk influences willingness to pay for protection programs. Preference heterogeneity among survey respondents was examined using two econometric models and risk preferences were evaluated by comparing willingness to pay for wildfire protection programs against expected monetary losses. The results showed that nearly all respondents had risk seeking preferences. Only respondents who had personal experience with wildfire impacts consistently made trade-offs among risk, loss, and cost and these respondents were willing to pay more for wildfire protection programs than were respondents without prior experience of wildfire impacts. Respondents living in neighborhoods that they viewed as being at high risk from wildfires also were willing to pay more than other respondents.