An increasing number of countries and institutions are investing in large-scale research infrastructures (RIs) and in basic research. Scientific discoveries, which are expected thanks to RIs, may have a non-use value, in analogy with environmental and cultural public goods. This paper provides, for the first time, an empirical estimation of the willingness to pay (WTP) for discoveries in basic research by the general public. We focus on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the largest particle accelerator worldwide, where in 2012 the Higgs boson was discovered. Nobody knows the practical value of such discovery, beyond knowledge per se. The findings of our study are based on a dichotomous choice contingent valuation (CV) survey carried out in line with the NOAA guidelines. The survey involved 1,022 undergraduate students enrolled in more than 30 different degrees (including the humanities) at five universities located in four countries (Italy, France, Spain, UK). We ask two main research questions: Which are the determinants of the WTP for the LHC discoveries? What is the average contribution that the respondents would be willing to pay? Our results confirm that income, interest and attitudes towards basic research are positively associated with the WTP, while other potential explanatory variables play a limited role. The estimated mean of WTP for basic research in particle physics is EUR 7.7 per person una-tantum. Although this is a small amount compared to other CV studies for environmental and cultural goods, it points to positive social attitudes for basic science as a public good.

Willingness to pay for basic research: a contingent valuation experiment on the large hadron collider / G. Catalano, M. Florio, F. Giffoni. - [s.l] : Università degli studi di Milano, 2016 Mar. (WORKING PAPER SERIES / DIPARTIMENTO DI ECONOMIA POLITICA E AZIENDALE, UNIVERSITÀ DEGLI STUDI DI MILANO)

Willingness to pay for basic research: a contingent valuation experiment on the large hadron collider

G. Catalano;M. Florio;
2016-03

Abstract

An increasing number of countries and institutions are investing in large-scale research infrastructures (RIs) and in basic research. Scientific discoveries, which are expected thanks to RIs, may have a non-use value, in analogy with environmental and cultural public goods. This paper provides, for the first time, an empirical estimation of the willingness to pay (WTP) for discoveries in basic research by the general public. We focus on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the largest particle accelerator worldwide, where in 2012 the Higgs boson was discovered. Nobody knows the practical value of such discovery, beyond knowledge per se. The findings of our study are based on a dichotomous choice contingent valuation (CV) survey carried out in line with the NOAA guidelines. The survey involved 1,022 undergraduate students enrolled in more than 30 different degrees (including the humanities) at five universities located in four countries (Italy, France, Spain, UK). We ask two main research questions: Which are the determinants of the WTP for the LHC discoveries? What is the average contribution that the respondents would be willing to pay? Our results confirm that income, interest and attitudes towards basic research are positively associated with the WTP, while other potential explanatory variables play a limited role. The estimated mean of WTP for basic research in particle physics is EUR 7.7 per person una-tantum. Although this is a small amount compared to other CV studies for environmental and cultural goods, it points to positive social attitudes for basic science as a public good.
Research infrastructures; Cost-benefit analysis; Non-Use Value; Existence value; Contingent Valuation; Large Hadron Collider
Settore SECS-P/03 - Scienza delle Finanze
http://wp.demm.unimi.it/tl_files/wp/2016/DEMM-2016_03wp.pdf
Working Paper
Willingness to pay for basic research: a contingent valuation experiment on the large hadron collider / G. Catalano, M. Florio, F. Giffoni. - [s.l] : Università degli studi di Milano, 2016 Mar. (WORKING PAPER SERIES / DIPARTIMENTO DI ECONOMIA POLITICA E AZIENDALE, UNIVERSITÀ DEGLI STUDI DI MILANO)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/611866
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