Revenue and Distributional Consequences of Alternative Outdoor Recreation Pricing Mechanisms: Evidence from a Micropanel Data Set

Yongjie Ji, David A. Keiser, Catherine L. Kling and Daniel J. Phaneuf


This article uses a system of Poisson demand equations to examine the revenue potential associated with uniform, site-differentiated, and income-differentiated recreational access fees for more than 130 lakes in the state of Iowa. We also consider optimal fees in the spirit of Ramsey (1927) and demonstrate how the new insights from Banzhaf and Smith (2022) can empirically inform discussions of user fees. We find that user fees could be used to raise revenue for the maintenance of recreation infrastructure, but that they are generally regressive. Fees differentiated by income groups can attenuate (but not eliminate) this regressivity.