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Marine Resource Economics: Ted Tomasi Coauthors Paper That Advances Methods for Valuing Recreation

By Theodore D. Tomasi, Ph.D., Managing Principal, Business Director, Natural Resources and Enviromental Economics

Economic studies to value public outdoor recreation sites can be complex—often involving costly and time-consuming data collection and computations that are difficult to understand. A simpler approach that can reliably estimate values is available in a new paper coauthored by Ted Tomasi, Ph.D., of Integral Consulting. The research findings can dramatically change the way economic evaluations are conducted and lead to cost and time savings and more comprehensible results for stakeholders.

The paper, published in the journal Marine Resource Economics, provides a significant advance in economic methods for valuing beaches, parks, and other places used to bike, hike, fish, hunt, and enjoy nature. This new research shows that the economic value of such sites can be reliably estimated using data on a single metric—the change in the number of trips taken to a site.

“Our research findings show that site value is proportional to number of trips, which greatly simplifies the existing evaluation process,” explains Ted Tomasi, Managing Principal and natural resource economist. “It distills a lot of information about all the places people might recreate, the cost of travel to them, and what they offer, into one easily observable metric of the number of trips to the affected recreation site.

The approach can be applied in any situation where policies, programs, or events affect recreational resources. Examples include coastal resilience and adaptation to sea level rise, planning urban parks, and in assessing natural resource damages to recreation resources.

Titled “Trip Equivalency for Economic Valuation in Recreation Demand Models: Implications for Compensatory Restoration and Benefits Transfer,” the paper demonstrates that in many circumstances, alternative actions or events that damage or improve recreation sites will be ranked in the same way by complex models to predict economic values, and by the change in the number of trips to a site. The two approaches yield equivalent information. Thus, “Trip Equivalency Analysis” is the new tool that may simplify and streamline reliable recreation valuations.

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MacNair, D., G. Parsons, T. Tomasi, and H. Byrd. 2021. Trip equivalency for economic valuation in recreation demand models: Implications for compensatory restoration and benefits transfer. Mar. Resour. Econ. 37:1–17.

For more information, contact Dr. Tomasi at

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Dr. Ted Tomasi has more than 40 years of experience as a natural resource economist, specializing in the valuation of... Full bio

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