Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018ID221B

Contextualizing Experiments and Eliciting Stakeholder Input from Idaho’s Water Sector

Institute: Idaho
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $14,754 Total Non-Federal Funds: $29,508

Principal Investigators: Alex Maas

Abstract: This project is part of a larger objective to understand the heterogeneity in water and ecosystem service preferences across different groups of stakeholders in Idaho’s water sector. These preferences include traditional economic concepts like willingness-to-pay for wetlands, increased soil water retention, and other ecosystem services, but will also explore how bounded rationality and rules-of-thumb can lead to suboptimal outcomes for the individuals and society. Given recent findings that economic outcomes can be influenced by context, this project will create a mobile economics experiment lab, which can be used anywhere in the state to better understand water use choices and preferences. In addition to gaining more representative input from stakeholders, the mobile lab will also be used as an interactive education tool. While the creation of a mobile economics lab will have many future applications, the first research questions we intend to investigate are: 1) How do mid-sized and large food processing facilities make decisions around water and energy use? 2) How does the framing of water policy affect its public support? 3) How do cognitive heuristics and “rules of thumb” lead to a mischaracterization of perceived flood risk and what are people’s preferences around such risk?