Measuring the Economic Effects of Sea Level Rise on Beach Recreation
John C. Whitehead, Ben Poulter, Christopher F. Dumas and Okmyung Bin
No 09-11, Working Papers from Department of Economics, Appalachian State University
Abstract: We develop estimates of the economic effects of climate change-induced sea level rise on recreation at seventeen southern North Carolina beaches. We estimate the relationship between recreation behavior and beach width and simulate the effects of sea level rise on recreation site choice and trip frequency. We find that reductions in beach width due to increased erosion from sea-level rise negatively affect the number and value of beach recreation trips. For beach goers who only take day trips, we estimate that four percent of recreation value is lost in 2030 and 11 percent is lost in 2080. For those who take both day and overnight trips, 16 percent and 34 percent of recreation value is lost in 2030 and 2080, respectively. The present value of the lost recreation value through 2080 assuming no increase in population or income is $9 billion, $4 billion and $722 million with 0 percent, 2 percent and 7 percent discount rates. With expected increases in population and income the present value of the lost recreation value is $29 billion, $11 billion and $2 billion with 0 percent, 2 percent and 7 percent discount rates.
Key Words: coastal recreation, travel cost method, climate change, sea level rise