Chapter 15 Recreation Demand Models

Daniel J. Phaneuf, V. Kerry Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Scopus citations


Travel cost recreation demand models stem from a simple, but penetrating, insight. Consumption of an outdoor recreation site's services requires the user to incur the costs of a trip to that site. Travel costs serve as implicit prices. These costs reflect both people's distances from recreation sites visited and their specific opportunity costs of time. Today, economic analyses of recreation choices are among the most advanced examples of microeconometric modeling of consumer behavior in economics. The primary focus of this chapter is on the methods used to describe individuals' recreation choices. We are interested in the economic assumptions made in descriptions of behavior and measures of the economic value of amenities. Before developing this summary, in Section 2 we discuss how outdoor recreation fits within consumers' overall expenditures. Section 3 describes how we might ideally like to estimate consumers' preferences for recreation resources and the compromises implied by the models currently being used. Econometric details are deferred until Section 5, after a discussion of the features of recreation data in Section 4. In Section 6 we turn to conceptual issues in welfare measurement. We close in Section 7 with a discussion of a few research opportunities that seem especially important for the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-761
Number of pages91
JournalHandbook of Environmental Economics
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • corner solution models
  • opportunity cost of time
  • random utility models
  • recreation demand
  • travel cost

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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