The Saemangeum open sea (SOS), which refers to the outer sea of the Saemangeum seawall in Korea, is being threatened by contamination caused by the Saemangeum development project. The policy-makers need information on the environmental conservation value of the SOS for informed decision-making about the SOS. This paper attempts to measure the environmental conservation value of the SOS. To this end, the public’s willingness to pay (WTP) for conserving the SOS is derived from a 2015 contingent valuation survey of 1000 Korean households comprising 400 households residing in the Saemangeum area and 600 households living in other areas. The authors employ a one-and-one-half-bounded dichotomous choice question format. Moreover, the spike model is adopted to analyze the WTP data with zero observations. The mean annual WTP values for both areas are calculated to be KRW 3861 (USD 3.26) and KRW 3789 (USD 3.20) per household, respectively. They are statistically significant at the 1% level. When the sample is expanded to the whole country, it is worth KRW 70.9 billion (USD 59.8 million) per annum. Therefore, conserving the SOS will contribute to the Korean people’s utility and can be done with public support. The value provides a useful baseline for decision-making for the SOS management.
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