Narrow Choice Sets in a Random Utility Model of Recreation Demand
We consider the implications of narrow choice sets on welfare estimation in a random utility model of recreation demand. We hypothesize that careful formulation of the choice set focusing on the sites of policy interest and their closest substitutes will give reasonably accurate welfare estimates. We use nearby sites as close substitutes and treat more distant sites as aggregate alternatives in our application to fishing in Maine. We find that the welfare estimates are rather sensitive to narrowing choice sets in this manner. The sensitivity largely tracts variation in the estimated travel cost coefficient across the different models considered.
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