Market Value of Timber When Some Offerings Are Not Sold: Implications for Appraisal and Demand Analysis

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A model of market value was developed for tracts of timber sold at auction for a minimum appraised value, when a substantial number of the tracts offered do not receive a bid. In this model, market value is a function of the characteristics of the timber and of market conditions, but market value is observed and equal to the high bid only if it is greater than the appraised value. This tobit model leads to the probability of selling a tract of given characteristics, conditional on a certain appraised value. Symmetrically, the model yields the appraised value that ensures a certain probability of selling. The expected high bid, conditional or unconditional on the occurrence of a sale, can also be computed. When this is done for all tracts offered and for various probability targets, a schedule of expected volume sold against expected price is obtained that corresponds to the aggregate demand for timber from the forest of interest. The model was estimated by maximum likelihood with data from the Chequamegon National Forest (WI) from 1976 to 1980. Variables influencing market value were: volume and quality of timber, hauling distance, hardwood lumber price, and whether the sale was a salvage operation. The corresponding parameters were used to predict the effect of setting appraised values that would have sold 95, 75, or 65% of the tracts offered for sale on the Chequamegon in 1981 and 1982. The results led to an estimate of the price elasticity of the demand for timber from that forest of -1.56. Forest Sci. 32:845-854.

Keywords: Transaction evidence; bidding; demand; econometrics; elasticities; national forests; prices; stumpage markets; tobit

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor, Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Publication date: December 1, 1986

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