As a member of the economics team, this summer I’m learning about multiple aspects of how the lakes affect Menomonie. First, we’re using a hedonic model to examine the housing in the Menomonie area. Our goal is to collect data on houses in Menomonie that are both on and off lakes Menomin and Tainter. Controlling for variables in the individual houses, such as number of bedrooms/bathrooms and number of square feet, the difference in price will show the value of having real estate on the lake. Additionally, we will look at properties on a cleaner lake in the Chetek area. After controlling for different housing variables, the difference in price will represent the value of having a cleaner lake. This has been a major focus of our research so far this summer. We’re also looking at the effect that having a cleaner lake has on the businesses in the area and individuals’ willingness to pay for a cleaner lake.
While we have done a lot of organizing and data collection so far, I’m looking forward to learning more about the mathematics behind the models – particularly the hedonic pricing model. I’ve done some coursework with econometrics before, but I greatly look forward to being able to apply the knowledge to a real-world problem and see how to create a model that fits the situation. I’m also excited to learn more about how our economics research will interplay with the other groups, such as geography and sociology, by interacting with the other students and mentors throughout the summer.