, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 89-108

Estimating Recreation Preferences Using Hedonic Travel Cost and Random Utility Models

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Over the last decade, several authors have questioned thevalidity of the hedonic travel cost model, arguing instead that the random utility model is a superior method forvaluing recreational site attributes. This paper demonstrates that the two methods emanate from a similar utilitytheoretic framework; yet in practice these methods differ in the assumptions made in their application.Constraining the underlying utility functions to be consistent, both models are applied to the valuation ofrecreational site attributes in the Southeastern United States. The way in which each method estimates preferencesfor site attributes is shown to depend critically on the method and the functional form of theunderlying utility function.