Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Resource Economics and Policy


Keith Evans

Second Committee Member

Caroline Noblet

Third Committee Member

Andrew Crawley


Marine aquaculture, the farming of finfish, shellfish, and/or sea vegetables, presents benefits and challenges for coastal resource users and communities. Those that invest in aquaculture have the opportunity to reap localized economic benefits due to increased demand for fish protein. Continuing development and production may result in ocean space competition and resource users conflicts by those with varying beliefs of acceptable and unacceptable uses of the shared waters. This research explores whether impacts from aquaculture are reflected in Maine housing markets’ sale prices and if so, do impacts vary spatially. Empirical methods use a semi-log hedonic property model to uncover information about the underlying price function for single-family home sales from 2012-2014. The model contains structural attributes, neighborhood characteristics, and aquaculture attributes/spatial lease site data. Results are considered global, the marginal effects of lease attributes are homogenous or constant across space. Next, a mixed geographically weighted regression is estimated as a local model where the marginal effects from the lease activity variables can vary over space. Local model results are tested for non-spatial randomness and the presence of spatially varying relationships between the aquaculture activity variables and sales price. Results from the global ordinary least squares model suggests marine aquaculture impacts coastal housing markets differently within the three regions based on four measures of aquaculture activity. There is a negative effect of Neighborhood attitudes, representing local concern related to the use values of coastal waters, on average sales price in the Damariscotta River region. In Casco Bay and Penobscot Bay there is a positive effect on the inverse distance measure. Whereas in Casco Bay and the Damariscotta River region there is a negative and positive effect, respectively, related to density or count, and only in Penobscot Bay is there a negative effect related to size or acreage. Results from the pooled Damariscotta and Penobscot Bay local mixed geographically weighted regression model suggests a local model significantly better represents this dataset and there is mixed weak evidence of spatially varying relationships between some measures of aquaculture activity and sales price. Findings suggest there is spatial variation of impacts from marine aquaculture on coastal homeowners and a localized model may better capture micro-market intricacies. Revealed preference empirical studies offer a complement to stated preference studies for uncovering preferences and attitudes towards acceptable uses of coastal resources and marine aquaculture. The statistical significance of these studies may be suggestive that communities have different rates of technological adoption related to aquaculture Siting and coastal development is a complex process and one which social science research can help fill knowledge gaps for policy-makers in terms of resource user’s preferences and attitudes toward development changes.