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    Description

    This study examined the effect of natural resource amenities on human life expectancy. Extending the
    existing model of the life expectancy production function, and correcting for spatial dependence, we
    evaluated the determinants of life expectancy using county level data. Results indicate that after controlling
    for socio-demographic and economic factors, medical facilities and risk factors, counties with natural
    amenities such as high proportion of land in forests, farmland, rangeland and water bodies, as well as mild
    climate such as longer sunlight hours during winter and cooler year around temperature exhibited longer life
    expectancies at birth. In addition, counties containing state parks and outdoor recreation facilities, and those
    located near federal wilderness parks were associated with the longer expectancies at birth. Findings from
    this study have several implications for natural resource economics and management, public health, and
    human development. An important message of our findings is that the traditional approach of public health
    should be extended beyond just controlling diseases or treating patients to a more comprehensive approach
    that also acknowledges the preservation and utilization of natural resources, environmental amenities, and
    outdoor recreation opportunities in maintaining public health, quality of life, and overall human
    development.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Poudyal, Neelam C.; Hodges, Donald G.; Bowker, J.M.; Cordell, H.K. 2009. Evaluating natural resource amenities in a human life expectancy production function. Forest Policy and Economics, 11(4): 253-259.

    Keywords

    life expectancy, natural resource amenities, spatial error model, production function, public health

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