Signals or noise? explaining the variation in recreation benefit estimates

V. Kerry Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


This paper uses meta analysis to summarize the benefit estimates derived from travel cost recreation demand models. After reviewing approximately 200 published and unpublished studies prepared from 1970 to 1986, 77 were found to report either consumer surplus estimates or sufficient information to derive them. Using these estimates of the consumer surplus per unit of use from each study, it was possible to evaluate the influence of variables describing the site characteristics, the activities undertaken at each site, the behavioral assumptions, and the specification decisions. The findings provide clear support for using econometric methods to summarize results from diverse empirical studies. They highlight the important research issues in model development and offer a consistency check to the procedures used in benefit transfer analyses for policy evaluations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-433
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Consumer surplus
  • Meta analysis
  • Recreation demand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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