Table of Contents

The New Economics of Outdoor Recreation

The New Economics of Outdoor Recreation

Edited by Nick Hanley, W. Douglass Shaw and Robert E. Wright

This innovative book presents a series of up-to-date analyses of the economics of outdoor recreation. The distinguished group of authors covers real-world recreation management issues and applies economic understanding to these problems. An extensive introduction by the editors details the historical background of economists’ interests in this subject, and reveals how economics can provide practical insights into improving how we manage our natural recreation areas.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Nick Hanley, W. Douglass Shaw and Robert E. Wright

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics


Nick Hanley, W. Douglass Shaw and Robert E. Wright This introductory chapter sets out to accomplish four objectives. The first is to explain why outdoor recreation is a relevant and interesting subject of study for economists. Second, the chapter provides a short history of this field of study. Third, we very briefly detail the main methods for estimating the demand for and value of outdoor recreation, and how demand may change when environmental conditions change. Fourth and finally, we preview the chapters that follow this one. 1. WHY AN ECONOMICS OF OUTDOOR RECREATION? One of the first areas of study in the emerging discipline of environmental economics in the 1960s was that of outdoor recreation. Why? It seems to us that there are several possible reasons. First, outdoor recreation was a fast-growing activity in the 1960s and remains so today. The great outdoors became more accessible as incomes grew, allowing households more leisure time, or at least easier access by automobiles. Accompanying this were interests in fitness and special activities such as fishing and hunting. This increasing demand for recreation brought with it its own pressures, such as congestion and potential environmental impacts. In addition, recreational activities were often in direct conflict with other demands on natural areas, such as mining, hydroelectric developments, farming, property development and afforestation. Economists were naturally interested in the relative costs and benefits of these different, often mutually-exclusive, land uses (for example Krutilla and Fisher, 1975). Perhaps what also helped...