Measuring benefits of outdoor recreation services : an application of the household production function approach to the Oregon steelhead sport fishery Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2j62s819d

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  • This study provides an empirical test of the Bockstael-McConnell (1980) household production function (HPF) framework for evaluating wildlife recreation. This is perhaps the first study in which both taste and technology parameters have been estimated with a theoretical model specification. The results suggest that for steelhead sport fishing in Oregon, the HPF methodology provides a promising recreation valuation technique. Also, some theoretical results are presented which extend Barnett's (1977) formulation of the HPF model to nonconsant returns to scale technologies. Conditions are identified under which it is possible to estimate structural taste and technology parameters. There is also a discussion on welfare analysis in the HPF framework. It is shown that welfare changes can be evaluated in either the input or the commodity markets. Different techniques for calculating two exact welfare measures --- compensating and equivalent variations --- are presented. In the HPF model estimated in this application, anglers are viewed as using market goods and their own time as inputs in the production of fishing experiences from which they derive utility. The two utility-yielding components of a fishing experience are defined as the fishing trip itself and the per trip fish catch. The major difference between this study and most previous studies of angler demand is that fish catch is treated here as an endogenous rather than an exogenous variable. That is, the number of sport-caught fish is found to be influenced by the quantities of inputs used by anglers. An advantage of the HPF framework is that it provides estimates of implicit or hedonic prices for commodities that are not priced on the market. Implicit prices, which are dependent on input prices and technology parameters, may also depend on the quantities of commodities consumed. Empirically specified implicit price functions are presented for both a fishing trip and a sport-caught fish. The results suggest that these implicit prices are not dependent on commodity quantities. The value of a fishing experience is defined in this study as the benefits derived from taking the trip and from catching fish. Estimates of the mean value of a fishing experience are presented in terms of both compensating and equivalent variations. These empirical results may be useful for determining values of fishing sites in Oregon. As is suggested by McConnell (1979) and Bockstael and McConnell (1980), the HPF framework can be used to determine the effects of exogenous quality changes on recreation benefits. In this study selected stream quality variables are included in the fish catch production function. Methods are shown for evaluating the welfare effects of changes in these exogenous quality variables. A model in which one or more quality indices are included could be useful for analyzing welfare effects on anglers of forest management plans or fishery enhancement projects. A problem which arose in this work is that the survey data used for the application was initially gathered for the purpose of apply ing a standard travel cost model. This led to some potentially biased parameter estimates for the HPF model. In spite of some data deficiencies, the results are theoretically plausible; but future research should be directed toward obtaining results for the HPF model which are not subject to these empirical limitations. Also, these results suggest that more research is needed to develop habitat quality indices. Future research efforts should also be directed toward developing multiple-site recreation valuation models. With such models, production relationships can vary across sites and substitution relationships among sites can be examined.
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