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Zachary Knepper and Christopher Yencha
''Public skate-parks and community well-being: A spatial econometric study''
( 2023, Vol. 43 No.2 )
With recent growth in skateboarding, it has become more important than ever to consider what effect skateparks have on community well-being. This analysis is a first investigation into the effect of skatepark access on three county-level wellness outcomes: suicide rates, population in juvenile detention, and rates of high-school completion with a novel data set on skatepark locations. In consideration of spatial heterogeneity in the location of skateparks and potential spillovers across space, we use spatial autoregressive (SAR) models to account for potential omitted variable bias and to correct for inefficient estimators in linear models due to spatial autocorrelation. We find a correlation between additional skateparks and increased suicide rates, juvenile detention rates, and high school completion. Returns to education are consistent with past literature on public recreational space, and provide support for further integration of skateboarding in the public space. Unexpected positive correlations between skatepark access and suicide and juvenile detention rates warrant future research.
Keywords: public amenities, public health, skateboarding, spatial econometrics, well-being
JEL: H4 - Publicly Provided Goods: General
I1 - Health: General
Manuscript Received : Jul 19 2022 Manuscript Accepted : Jun 30 2023

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