The impact of social capital on willingness-to-pay for hard engineered coastal defences in south-east England

Chrysovalantis Malesios

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


Globally, one of the most common approaches to protect coastal areas from flooding
and erosion is to construct hard engineered defence structures. However, it is now
widely acknowledged that constructing and maintaining ‘hard’ defences is both
financially and environmentally challenging for public authorities and national
governments. Here we seek to investigate the willingness of residents in rapidly eroding
coastal zones facing flooding risks to contribute towards the costs of maintaining and
constructing such structures. Our analysis examines the influence of social capital
parameters on respondents’ willingness to pay, which have been identified as influential
in recent studies. Fieldwork was conducted in Romney Marsh, south-east England, a
low-lying coastal area experiencing adverse impacts from sea level rise that are expected
to escalate in future under current climate change projections. The study found 45.6% of
respondents were willing to pay an average monthly premium of £3.53 to subsidise
coastal defence expenditure. Our study demonstrates that generalised and particularised
forms of trust clearly exert a positive influence on WTP, which could be used by policy
actors to enhance and possibly to increase public acceptability in cases where financial
contributions are likely to be requested in future from the public by government. On the
other hand, the fact that social networks function in a negative way indicates that policy
makers should contribute to discussion and debate in local social networks and explore
how information influences citizens’ perceptions positively and negatively.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication1st Conference on the Economics of Natural Sources and the Environment, At Volos, Greece
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2014

Bibliographical note



Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of social capital on willingness-to-pay for hard engineered coastal defences in south-east England'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this