Destination Choice Models for Rock Climbing in the Northeastern Alps: A Latent-Class Approach Based on Intensity of Preferences

Riccardo Scarpa and Mara Thiene


Rock climbers are likely to exhibit preference heterogeneity dictating the way with which such sport is practiced. This has a reflection on the population’s structure of recreational values of rock-climbing destinations, their attributes, and to land management policies. We test this hypothesis on a panel of destination choices by a sample of members of the Italian Alpine Club. Using a latent-class, random utility approach we find evidence in support of the hypothesis that there are at least four classes in the sample, thereby revealing a considerable richness in the structure of preference, which would otherwise be unobservable with more conventional approaches. (JEL Q26, C25)