Who Wants More Open Space? Study of Willingness to Be Taxed to Preserve Open Space in an Urban Environment

  • Chunhua Wang
  • Jean-Claude ThillEmail author
  • Ross Meentemeyer
Part of the New Frontiers in Regional Science: Asian Perspectives book series (NFRSASIPER, volume 24)


The presence of open space is often regarded as one of the considerations that enhance the quality of the living experience of populations in urban regions and cities and that enhance the long-term sustainability of urban environments. However, the provision of open space comes at a price. This chapter examines people’s willingness to support tax increases for the preservation of open space in a fast-growing urban area where pressure to marketize land to its highest and best use is high. In particular, we study how a respondent’s socioeconomic characteristics influence their willingness to pay in the city of Charlotte, United States. We use and analyze detailed survey data at the household level collected from a phone interview survey conducted in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area. The econometric models allow us to identify a systematic response bias which arises from protest zeros and respondents’ tendency to underreport their willingness. Results show that a respondent’s willingness is affected by the respondent’s gender, age, ethnicity, and level of educational attainment. An individual is more willing to support if the individual is younger, Caucasian, and has reached a higher level of education. Individual behaviors are aggregated to obtain the regional level of willingness. Finally, results reveal that respondents have a well-marked tendency to underreport their willingness to support and report protest zeros in the survey.


Open space Discrete choice Willingness Taxes Response bias 



This work was financially supported by the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) of North Carolina and the United States NSF ULTRA-EX Program (Grant #0948181). Professor Thill's work has also been partially funded by the Knight Professorship in Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chunhua Wang
    • 1
  • Jean-Claude Thill
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ross Meentemeyer
    • 3
  1. 1.School of International Trade and EconomicsUniversity of International Business and EconomicsBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Earth SciencesUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA
  3. 3.Department of Forestry an Environmental ResourcesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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