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Financing Outdoor Recreation


  • H. Spencer Banzhaf
  • V. Kerry Smith


The National Park Service and other agencies have argued that our recreation lands face a crisis of deferred maintenance. This paper evaluates two proposals for funding public lands, increasing gate fees and taxing recreational gear. It analyzes the joint welfare effects of such taxes and the services supported by the revenue. It shows that when the taxed goods and the public service are "weak complements," there is a simple sufficient statistic determining whether the joint effect increases welfare both for consumers and sellers: Namely, the demand for the taxed good increases. The paper illustrates these results with data for recreational services.

Suggested Citation

  • H. Spencer Banzhaf & V. Kerry Smith, 2020. "Financing Outdoor Recreation," NBER Working Papers 27541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27541
    Note: EEE PE

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    Cited by:

    1. Neill, Jon R., 2022. "Using consumer’s surplus to bound willingness to pay for non-market goods," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    2. Margaret Walls & Matthew Ashenfarb, 2022. "Efficiency and Equity of an Outdoor Recreation Equipment Tax to Fund Public Lands," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 98(3), pages 520-536.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics

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