Saturday, March 2, 2013

Don't believe these economic impact numbers ...

I have a "Google Alert" set up to tell me when new economic impact studies are released.  I have been altered to more stories in the past few days on National Parks than I have ever seen before.  It couldn't have anything to do with the sequestration, could it?

You should be suspicious about these results.  Here are a few results recently released:

Natchez Trace - $93 million impact.

Independence National Historic Park - $150 million impact.

I am presenting a paper outlining many of the issues involved in estimating the economic impact of parks and recreation areas in early April.  Once it's ready to share, I will post it here.

One thing of note - at best, the impacts in the top three studies are for the local areas only.  The economic impact for the local area could be overstated, but many of these national parks do have a positive economic impact on the local area.  (By taking tax dollars from everywhere else in the country to fund the park.)

Each individual park, however, has an economic impact on the country that is much lower - very close to zero, in fact.  So if Independence National Historic Park really does have a $150 million impact on the Philadelphia area (I am skeptical), it probably has an economic impact of less than $5 million on the national economy.  That's because very few people, if this park didn't exist, would choose to spend their money outside the country instead of visiting that park.  The study showing a $30 billion economic impact of all National Parks in the country is completely flawed.

No comments:

Post a Comment