The Allocation of Time and Risk of Lyme: A Case of Ecosystem Service Income and Substitution Effects

  • Kevin Berry
  • Jude Bayham
  • Spencer R. Meyer
  • Eli P. Fenichel

DOI: 10.1007/s10640-017-0142-7

Cite this article as:
Berry, K., Bayham, J., Meyer, S.R. et al. Environ Resource Econ (2017). doi:10.1007/s10640-017-0142-7


Forests are often touted for their ecosystem services, including outdoor recreation. Historically forests were a source of danger and were avoided. Forests continue to be reservoirs for infectious diseases and their vectors—a disservice. We examine how this disservice undermines the potential recreational services by measuring the human response to environmental risk using exogenous variation in the risk of contracting Lyme Disease. We find evidence that individuals substitute away from spending time outdoors when there is greater risk of Lyme Disease infection. On average individuals spent 1.54 fewer minutes per day outdoors at the average, 72 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, confirmed cases of Lyme Disease. We estimate lost outdoor recreation of 9.41 h per year per person in an average county in the Northeastern United States and an aggregate welfare loss on the order $2.8 billion to $5.0 billion per year.


Adaptation Resource allocation Risk Economic-Epidemiology American Time Use Survey (ATUS) Travel cost 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
  • 1R01GM100471-01
NSF-NIH-USDA Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases program
  • 1414374
The Nature Conservancy

    Copyright information

    © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

    Authors and Affiliations

    • Kevin Berry
      • 1
      • 2
    • Jude Bayham
      • 3
    • Spencer R. Meyer
      • 4
    • Eli P. Fenichel
      • 2
    1. 1.Institute of Social and Economic Research, Department of EconomicsUniversity of Alaska AnchorageAnchorageUSA
    2. 2.Yale School of Forestry & Environmental StudiesNew HavenUSA
    3. 3.College of AgricultureCalifornia State University, ChicoChicoUSA
    4. 4.Highstead FoundationReddingUSA

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