Table of Contents

Amenities and Rural Development

Amenities and Rural Development

Theory, Methods and Public Policy

New Horizons in Environmental Economics series

Edited by Gary Paul Green, Steven C. Deller and David D. Marcouiller

Amenities and Rural Development explores the paradigmatic shift in how we view land resources and the potential for development in amenity-rich rural regions. Amenity-based growth can lead to several paths, based largely on proximity to urban areas and the type of development that occurs, whether it be seasonal residents, retirees, or tourism. The distributional implications of amenity-led development are an important consideration for policy, both within and between communities and regions. The contributors conclude that public policy needs to focus on maximizing complementary and supplementary uses while minimizing antagonistic uses of amenities.

Chapter 5: The Supply and Demand for Natural Amenities: An Overview of Theory and Concepts

Thomas Michael Power

Subjects: environment, environmental sociology, urban and regional studies, regional studies


Thomas Michael Power Economists have long recognized the fact that many of the important determinants of our well being are noncommercial in character. They cannot be appropriately provided by commercial businesses coordinated by markets. That is one of the reasons economics exists as a social science separate and apart from the study of commercial business. Site-specific characteristics of a particular locale that make it a more or less attractive place to live make up one important group of such noncommercial goods and services. These site-specific qualities have come to be labeled ‘amenities’. They may include everything from local climate, levels of crime and congestion, outdoor recreation opportunities, quality of schools, air and water quality and urban density. Amenities, to economists, include all of those location-specific public good characteristics of a place that increase that place’s attractiveness as a residential or business location. Characteristics of the local market economy such as market size, job opportunities and cost of living are not treated as amenities. Economists have worked to develop the tools that allow the measurement of such noncommercial economic values so that in public policy decisions in which both commercial and noncommercial economic values are at stake, better, more fully informed decisions can be made. By studying the actual choices made by individuals in the pursuit of noncommercial economic values, economists have been able to measure those noncommercial economic values through the sacrifices people actually make. Analysis of travel costs, property value differentials and wage di...

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