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A Revealed Preference Approach to the Measurement of Congestion in Travel Cost Models

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Listed:
  • Christopher Timmins
  • Jennifer Murdock

Abstract

Travel cost models are regularly used to determine the value of recreational sites or particular site characteristics, yet a key site attribute, congestion, is often excluded from such analyses. One of several reasons is that congestion (unlike many other site attributes) is determined in equilibrium by the process of individuals sorting across sites, and thus presents significant endogeneity problems. This paper illustrates this source of endogeneity, describes how previous research has dealt with it by way of stated preference techniques, and describes an instrumental variables approach to address it in a revealed preference context. We demonstrate that failing to address the endogeneity of congestion will likely lead to the understatement of its costs, and possibly to the mistaken recovery of agglomeration benefits. We apply our technique to the valuation of a large recreational fishing site in Wisconsin (Lake Winnebago) which, if eliminated, would induce significant re-sorting of anglers amongst remaining sites. In our application, ignoring congestion leads to an understatement of the lake’s value by more than 50 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Timmins & Jennifer Murdock, 2006. "A Revealed Preference Approach to the Measurement of Congestion in Travel Cost Models," Working Papers tecipa-213, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-213
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    File URL: https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/public/workingPapers/tecipa-213-1.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Michael, Jeffrey A. & Reiling, Stephen D., 1997. "The Role of Expectations and Heterogeneous Preferences for Congestion in the Valuation of Recreation Benefits," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, pages 166-173.
    2. Patrick Bayer & Christopher Timmins, 2007. "Estimating Equilibrium Models Of Sorting Across Locations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(518), pages 353-374, March.
    3. Guido W. Imbens & Whitney K. Newey, 2002. "Identification and Estimation of Triangular Simultaneous Equations Models Without Additivity," NBER Technical Working Papers 0285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Frank J. Cesario, 1980. "Congestion and the Valuation of Recreation Benefits," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 56(3), pages 329-338.
    5. Peter Schuhmann & Kurt Schwabe, 2004. "An Analysis of Congestion Measures and Heterogeneous Angler Preferences in a Random Utility Model of Recreational Fishing," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, pages 429-450.
    6. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521845731, November.
    7. Murdock, Jennifer, 2006. "Handling unobserved site characteristics in random utility models of recreation demand," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 1-25, January.
    8. Michael, Jeffrey A. & Reiling, Stephen D., 1997. "The Role Of Expectations And Heterogeneous Preferences For Congestion In The Valuation Of Recreation Benefits," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 26(2), October.
    9. Boxall, Peter & Rollins, Kimberly & Englin, Jeffrey, 2003. "Heterogeneous preferences for congestion during a wilderness experience," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, pages 177-195.
    10. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
    11. Guido W. Imbens & Whitney K. Newey, 2009. "Identification and Estimation of Triangular Simultaneous Equations Models Without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1481-1512, September.
    12. Victor Chernozhukov & Christian Hansen, 2005. "An IV Model of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 245-261, January.
    13. F. J. Anderson & N. C. Bonsor, 1974. "Allocation, Congestion, and the Valuation of Recreational Resources," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(1), pages 51-57.
    14. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-890, July.
    15. Bayer, Patrick & Timmins, Christopher, 2005. "On the equilibrium properties of locational sorting models," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 462-477, May.
    16. Kenneth E. McConnell, 1977. "Congestion and Willingness to Pay: A Study of Beach Use," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 53(2), pages 185-195.
    17. Boxall, Peter C. & Hauer, Grant & Adamowicz, Wiktor L., 2005. "Modeling Congestion as a Form of Interdependence in Random Utility Models," Staff Paper Series 24078, University of Alberta, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Congestion; Random Utility Model; Site Valuation; Travel Cost; Discrete Choice; Instrumental Variables; Quantile Regression;

    JEL classification:

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

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