Sub-studies and Methodological Approach
In this project we adopt an economic decision framework focusing on the users of geological maps. The project work will explicitly acknowledge the heterogeneity among different users, but generally it can be asserted that a typical user employs geological information to gather technical knowledge about geology in order to prepare for improved decision-making. For instance, the user’s objective can be expressed as minimizing the expected costs of preparing a quality project report (e.g., Bernknopf et al., 1997; Bhagwat and Ipe, 2000). The perceived benefits of using geological information can also differ across users due to the nature of the projects undertaken as well as a result of the level of staff competence.
The project work comprises as of now of two sub-studies. The first is a literaturearticle while the other rely on the use of information gathered from a user survey. The survey will be designed and tested after several inputs from experts at the Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), users, and academics; it will involve a number of general questions to all users, but will also vary slightly in design across different categories of users. Clearly, many of the specific details of the project and the surveys will need to be worked out in close consultation with expertise from geological experts and SGU.
Sub-study 1 : The economic value of geological information: Synthesis and directions for future research
The first study is a sythesis of prior research and gives direction for future research. The first article in this project is now avaibale at doi:10.1016/j.resourpol.2014.11.001
The review of prior research shows significant economic benefits attached to the generation of this type of public information. The value of geological information has typically been measured in terms of avoided costs. Still, it is difficult to compare results across studies since they differ in scope and make alternative assumptions concerning which sectors to cover. Furthermore, previous research is not uniform in their treatment of potential (rather than only existing) users, and employ varying conceptions of avoided costs. The first paper concludes that future research should devote more attention to the public and experience good characteristics of this type of information, thus highlighting the preconditions for information adoption as well as addressing the role of potential users. A number of specific methodological challenges also deserve further scrutiny in future research, such as the use of discount rates and benefit-transfer approaches. In this paper we also provide some thoughts on how to proceed with such research.
The first study analyzes the use – or non-use – of geological maps across different Swedish muncipalities. In this study we investigate the specific characteristics of geological information generating value for the users (e.g., lithology, formation contacts, structures etc.). We also provide a quantitative assessment (in a discrete choice statistical model) of the factors determining the adoption and non-adoption of geological maps, which can be hypothesized to be determined by, for instance, staff competence etc. The data needed will primarily be drawn from the survey to current and potential users.
Two articles based on the survey are available in Elisabeth's licentiate thesis http://pure.ltu.se/portal/files/101533770/Elisabeth_H_ggquist.pdf
The first article indicate that perceived advantages, initiating follow-up education (motiation), gender and working unit affects the adoption behavior. No spatial effects between municipalities are found.
The second paper also considering social effects (collegial advice), perceived skills from education and whether the information is jointly adopted with related information. The related information considered in this paper is other geoinformation such as map data, demographic information concerning population or building information. The results suggest that the adoption of geological and related information is a joint and complementary decision. It is also found that collegial advice, perceived skills from education, motivation to adopt, perceived advantage, gender and working unit affect the likelihood of adopting geological information.