Declining populations in rural and regional areas have become a high political priority in Australia. Calls for measures to support rural communities have been prompted by substantial population declines in some country areas. In Europe and the USA, similar political pressures to halt population losses in rural and regional areas are also apparent; often as a component of the multifunctionality of agriculture. The question addressed in the present paper is whether or not the Australian tax-paying public would be willing to pay to avoid losses of people from rural and regional areas that may result from environmental protection measures. As an integral component of two recent non-market, environmental valuation exercises using Choice Modelling, the value of the benefits associated with the maintenance of rural populations has been estimated. The results demonstrate that a positive existence value is held primarily by urban dwellers for rural population levels.
|Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics
|Published - 2004