Site choices in recreational demand: a matter of utility maximization or regret minimization?

Marco Boeri, Alberto Longo, Edel Doherty, Stephen Hynes

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This paper compares the Random Regret Minimization and the Random Utility Maximization models for determining recreational choice. The Random Regret approach is based on the idea that, when choosing, individuals aim to minimize their regret – regret being defined as what one experiences when a non-chosen alternative in a choice set performs better than a chosen one in relation to one or more attributes. The Random Regret paradigm, recently developed in transport economics, presents a tractable, regret-based alternative to the dominant choice paradigm based on Random Utility. Using data from a travel cost study exploring factors that influence kayakers’ site-choice decisions in the Republic of Ireland, we estimate both the traditional Random Utility multinomial logit model (RU-MNL) and the Random Regret multinomial logit model (RR-MNL) to gain more insights into site choice decisions. We further explore whether choices are driven by a utility maximization or a regret minimization paradigm by running a binary logit model to examine the likelihood of the two decision choice paradigms using site visits and respondents characteristics as explanatory variables. In addition to being one of the first studies to apply the RR-MNL to an environmental good, this paper also represents the first application of the RR-MNL to compute the Logsum to test and strengthen conclusions on welfare impacts of potential alternative policy scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-47
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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