Intra-Regional Amenities, Wages, and Home Prices: The Role of Forests in the Southwest

Michael S. Hand, Jennifer A. Thacher, Daniel W. McCollum and Robert P. Berrens


Forests provide non-market goods and services that people are implicitly willing to pay for through hedonic housing and labor markets. But it is unclear if compensating differentials arise in these markets at the regional level. This empirical question is addressed in a study of Arizona and New Mexico. Hedonic regressions of housing prices and wages using census and geographic data show that forest area carries an implicit price of between $27 and $36 per square mile annually. Compensating differentials at the regional level suggest that care must be taken when applying the travel cost method to value regionally delineated characteristics. (JEL Q23, R14)