Date of Award:

5-2019

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Applied Economics

Committee

Man-Keun Kim

Committee

Ryan Bosworth

Committee

Larry Rupp

Abstract

Utah’s water resources are endangered by low rainfall rates, high per capita water consumption and a strong projected increase of residents. The irrigation of ornamental plant landscaping is estimated to account for 60% of residential water use, and is, therefore, a target of education programs in the effort to promote water conservancy. The water-wise “Yellow Tag” program developed by the Utah Division of Water Resources seeks to provide retail nurseries with free tags for labeling plants which are considered low water use with the objective of promoting water conservation. The objective of this study is to determine consumer preferences for plants labeled with the Yellow Tag.

As a means of measuring consumer preference we use willingness-to-pay (WTP). We give participants the choice between daylily, spiderwort and neither. Choice alternatives differ in flower color, purported irrigation need, production location and price. The data for this study was collected through an online survey instrument applied to 463 participants residing in the state of Utah.

Our results show that consumers prefer daylilies labeled with the Yellow Tag, and dislike spiderwort labeled with a high irrigation need. Special preference for Yellow Tag labeled ornamentals was found for respondents who are female, living in single houses, are concerned about the price of water and are drought aware. We do not find a preference for flower color or production location. These promising results may encourage Utah governmental and education agencies to continue the Water-Wise program, expand educational programs to increase drought awareness and help retailers optimize their future product mixes.

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Included in

Economics Commons

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