Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #627

Cycling on the Extensive and Intensive Margin – The Role of Paths and Prices

by Manuel Frondel and Colin Vance

RUB, RWI, 08/2016, 24 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-729-8 DOI: 10.4419/86788729

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Abstract

Drawing on a panel of German survey data spanning 1997-2013, this paper identifies the correlates of non-recreational bicycling, focusing specifically on the roles of bicycle paths and fuel prices. Our approach conceptualizes ridership as a two stage decision process comprising the discrete choice of whether to use the bike (i.e. the intensive margin) and the continuous choice of how far to ride (i.e. the extensive margin). To the extent that these two choices are related and, moreover, potentially influenced by factors unobservable to the researcher, we explore alternative estimators using twostage censored regression techniques to assess whether the results are subject to biases from sample selectivity. A key finding is that while higher fuel costs are associated with an increased probability of undertaking non-recreational bike trips, this effect is predicated on residence in an urbanized region. We also find evidence for a positive association with the extent of bike paths, both in increasing the probability of nonrecreational bike travel as well as the distance traveled.

JEL-Classification: D13, Q41, Q58

Keywords: Bicycle paths; fuel prices; non-recreational cycling

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