Ecological diversity is especially high in the Gulf of Mexico, and multiple Gulf of Mexico resources imply complex management challenges. Yet, relatively little is known about social values of marine biodiversity in the Gulf of Mexico. This article uses results from a stated preference survey of nationally representative households to quantify economic values. The specific assessment scenario involves a current policy proposal to expand the boundaries of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Willingness to pay estimates range from $35–$107 per household. Respondent characteristics are related to willingness to pay in ways consistent with economic intuition and theory. We conclude with aggregate willingness to pay calculations, and results suggest that total social benefits of marine reserve expansion in the Gulf region are large.
JEL Codes: Q22, Q28, Q51.