Ordinary people’s preferences for space tourism: A discrete choice experiment in Norway
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Recent years of the 21st century have seen the emergence of space tourism activities. Thisstudy analyzes data from a discrete choice experiment (DCE) on preferences for travelinginto space conducted in Norway. In the DCE, we asked a representative sample ofNorwegian individuals to express their optimal decision if faced with three alternatives:two different space travel options and a no-purchase/no travel option. After getting answersfrom the six choice cards from each respondent, we formulate utility functions that formthe basis for estimating preferences and willingness to pay for space travel and space tripattributes. Multinomial logit estimation techniques are utilized to econometrically analyzethe stated preference survey data. We found that mortality risk, trip cost, and carbonfootprint negatively affect respondents’ preferences. In contrast, longer space trips in termsof time and distance in space bring more satisfaction and higher purchasing probabilities.Furthermore, prior interest and knowledge, sensation-seeking tendencies, age, gender, andsocial connection are significantly correlated with preferences for space travel, whileincome, education, family connections, and climate change concern appear to have nostatistical influence on the stated choices of the respondents. Descriptive statistics from alikelihood question posed twice in the survey (before and after the DCE) indicate that about48% of the respondents would go to space if one were offered the trip for free or if moneywas no issue. Econometric analysis of the DCE data yields a similar finding, though thereis a difference across the two DCE versions, the CO2 emission version and the non-CO2emission version. Specifically, the market shares are smaller at any trip price when weinclude the individual’s carbon footprint. The estimation results indicate that 1/5 ofordinary Norwegians would be willing to pay between NOK 2.42 million and NOK 4.27million (financed with a loan paid back over ten years at zero interest rate) for a space trip.The corresponding overall reservation price, i.e., the maximum willingness to pay, rangesfrom NOK 15.77 million to NOK 16.5 million.