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Measuring the Economic Effects of Sea Level Rise on Beach Recreation


  • John C. Whitehead
  • Ben Poulter
  • Christopher F. Dumas
  • Okmyung Bin


We develop estimates of the economic effects of climate change-induced sea level rise on recreation at seventeen southern North Carolina beaches. We estimate the relationship between recreation behavior and beach width and simulate the effects of sea level rise on recreation site choice and trip frequency. We find that reductions in beach width due to increased erosion from sea-level rise negatively affect the number and value of beach recreation trips. For beach goers who only take day trips, we estimate that four percent of recreation value is lost in 2030 and 11 percent is lost in 2080. For those who take both day and overnight trips, 16 percent and 34 percent of recreation value is lost in 2030 and 2080, respectively. The present value of the lost recreation value through 2080 assuming no increase in population or income is $9 billion, $4 billion and $722 million with 0 percent, 2 percent and 7 percent discount rates. With expected increases in population and income the present value of the lost recreation value is $29 billion, $11 billion and $2 billion with 0 percent, 2 percent and 7 percent discount rates. Key Words: coastal recreation, travel cost method, climate change, sea level rise

Suggested Citation

  • John C. Whitehead & Ben Poulter & Christopher F. Dumas & Okmyung Bin, 2009. "Measuring the Economic Effects of Sea Level Rise on Beach Recreation," Working Papers 09-11, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:09-11

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Loomis & Robert Richardson, 2006. "An external validity test of intended behavior: Comparing revealed preference and intended visitation in response to climate change," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(4), pages 621-630.
    2. Parsons, George R. & Jakus, Paul M. & Tomasi, Ted, 1999. "A Comparison of Welfare Estimates from Four Models for Linking Seasonal Recreational Trips to Multinomial Logit Models of Site Choice," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 143-157, September.
    3. Richardson, Robert B. & Loomis, John B., 2004. "Adaptive recreation planning and climate change: a contingent visitation approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 83-99, September.
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    1. An exciting new Earth Day working paper
      by John Whitehead in Environmental Economics on 2009-04-22 19:22:58


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    Cited by:

    1. Matthews, Yvonne & Scarpa, Riccardo & Marsh, Dan, 2017. "Using virtual environments to improve the realism of choice experiments: A case study about coastal erosion management," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 193-208.
    2. Knoche, Scott & Lupi, Frank & Suiter, Ashley, 2015. "Harvesting benefits from habitat restoration: Influence of landscape position on economic benefits to pheasant hunters," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 97-105.

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    JEL classification:

    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects

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