Date of Award

8-2006

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Resource Economics and Policy

Advisor

Kathleen P. Bell

Second Committee Member

James Acheson

Third Committee Member

Kevin J. Boyle

Abstract

This research investigates the relationship between length of residency and the importance placed on environmental amenities when making location decisions. Utilizing data collected from rural coastal communities in the Pacific Northwest, two research objectives are addressed by this study. First, ordered logit analysis is employed to determine if new residents rank environmental amenities differently than long-term residents and to test whether or not such differences in rankings are consistent across different types of environmental amenities. Ordered logit results reveal length of residency was found to have significant impacts on importance rankings of environmental amenities at a community scale. Four environmental amenities are included in this analysis: clean bay water, recreation opportunities, and proximity to the ocean. The impact of length of residency was significant and negative for: scenic views and proximity to the ocean. In these cases, estimated parameters supported prior expectations that new residents place greater importance on environmental amenities when making community location decisions. The second objective involves a broad investigation of the importance placed on community attributes when individuals make location decisions. Factor analysis is utilized to explore how residents rank the importance of a host of community attributes. Cluster analysis is then applied to determine the presence of resident cohorts in terms of common rankings and to examine how these cohorts differ in terms of community attribute tradeoff decisions. Emphasis is placed on how length of residency affects attributes and the definition of resident cohorts. The factor analysis procedure resulted in fifteen community attributes collapsing into four latent factors (Environmental Quality, Public Services, Rural Life, and Family Life) with analytical reliability. A closer examination the of factor scores for environmental quality supports ordered logit findings that new residents place greater importance on environmental amenities than long-term residents. Finally, a cluster analysis of resident factor scores on all four latent factors suggestes resident cohorts vary in making tradeoffs among community factors and length of residency is associated with this variation.

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