User fees, equity and the benefits of public outdoor recreation services
The paper addresses the question of who benefits from public recreation areas. Employing a set of survey data from users and nonusers of state-owned recreation and conservation areas in Finland, we derive two measures for distributional analysis. The first, the income elasticity of willingness to pay for recreation services, indicates that public provision of recreation benefits lower-income groups more than higher-income groups. The second, a welfare measure including efficiency loss, reveals ambiguous impacts depending on the level of the fee implemented. Low fee levels decrease recreation visits among lower-income users, whereas high fees reduce the welfare level of higher-income users in particular.
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