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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.
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Chapter 14: Whalewatching Demand and Value: Estimates from a New ‘Double-Semilog’ Empirical Demand System

Douglas M. Larson and Sabina L. Shaikh


14. Whalewatching demand and value: estimates from a new ‘doublesemilog’ empirical demand system Douglas M. Larson and Sabina L. Shaikh 1. INTRODUCTION Whalewatching is an increasingly-popular form of winter recreation in California and along much of the rest of the western coasts of the United States and Canada. The annual migration of grey whales along the coast, from summer feeding grounds in the Bering Sea off Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico for calving, is well-documented and publicized in the popular media. The southward migration runs closer to shore and may last for a period of 1–4 weeks, peaking in mid-December in central and Northern California. In the northward migration, whales travel farther offshore and its peak occurs in March. In many ports along the coast, offering whalewatching cruises is an important supplement to the winter incomes of fishing guides, party boat operators, and other boat owners. In addition to regularly-scheduled boat cruises and tours in ports up and down the coast, there are many opportunities for shore-based viewing of the migration from major headlands and promontories. The value of whalewatching, as with other forms of recreation, is assessed in models of consumer demand that reflect the constraints on choice and the opportunities for consumption. When the behavior of interest is recreational use, often the substitution between sites is important to measuring the value of any given site. A common approach is the random utility model, which predicts the probability of a site being chosen on...

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