Fair work Austin : a study of consumer willingness to pay for premier community builders certified construction in Austin, Texas
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The city of Austin in recent years has undertaken a number of planning initiatives to guide future development in the rapidly-growing urban area. What has emerged is a clear commitment to a broad definition of sustainability that includes environmental, economic, and social sustainability among both policy makers and the public. The city of Austin has made great strides towards its goal of becoming a model city for sustainability, but it still faces many challenges. The long-term sustainability of Texas construction jobs is threatened by declining wages, dangerous working conditions, and few employment-based benefits. To help address these challenges, the Workers Defense Project (WDP), a local community-based organization dedicated to improving working conditions for Austin’s low-wage workers, has partnered with industry and community stakeholders to create the Premier Community Builders (PCB) certification program. Certification programs, which require businesses to meet minimum set of standards in exchange for a seal or trademark that publicizes their commitment to corporate social responsibility, have become a popular tool in recent years for improving conditions in a variety of industries. Implementing a certification program, however, often drives up costs associated with adopting more sustainable practices and is highly dependent upon consumers’ willingness to pay a price premium for the certified product. The purpose of this research is to explore consumer willingness to pay among downtown Austin residents and tourists for PCB certification. This exploratory study utilizes a contingent valuation survey as the primary instrument to determine whether or not downtown Austin consumers are willing to pay more for PCB certified construction and identify any demographic or identity-related factors associated with downtown consumers’ willingness to pay for PCB certification.