Degree Name

BS

Department

Economics

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Defense Date

2018-12-07

Publication Date

2019-03-16

First Faculty Advisor

Jocelyn Wikle

First Faculty Reader

Lars Lefgren

Honors Coordinator

John Stovall

Keywords

Revenue management, Recreation fees, Demand, Parks visitation, Low-income

Abstract

This study assesses the consumer response to changes in entrance fees at 27 of the United States National Park System sites over the past 25 years. The elasticity of demand portion of this study analyzes the relationship between monthly attendance and per-vehicle entrance fees charged at each of the 27 national parks from 1993 to the present. Although this study finds no statistically significant correlation between attendance and admission price from 1993-2006, it does identify a significant negative correlation over the past twelve years. This study also identifies varying responses to changes in admission price by different socioeconomic demographic groups. This is measured by comparing the types of cars that entered Arches National Park on a free admission day to those which entered on regular paid admission days. Cars that entered the park on the free admission day were worth, on average, $1,274 less than the cars that entered on regular admission days. Evidence suggests that entrance fees may not only adversely affect visitor attendance, but that they may also disproportionally exclude lower-income individuals from attending national parks.

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