A Price Subsidy Policy for SocioEconomically Disadvantaged Recreation Participants


  • Janet L. Emmett
  • Mark E. Havitz
  • Ronald E. McCarville


Price subsidy, disadvantaged groups, compensatory equity, not-for-profit sector.


This research examines pricing challenges faced by a not-for-profit recreation centre serving a socioeconomically diverse commanity. Rather than adopt a uniform price' structure for all participants or develop differential pricing structures based on program characteristics, the Centre elected to differentiate membership prices based on clients' ability to pay. Both non -assisted and assisted members have equal access to all programs and services. Chi square analysis confirmed that assisted and non-assisted members differed on three of seven socioeconomic variables (p < .007). Assisted members were overrepresented by socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. However, the two.groups did not differ on the basis offrequency of use, duration of stay, use of child care services, or intention to renew membership. Assisted members reported higher levels of satisfaction with the Centre (P < .005) and overall perceived value scores ( p < .005) than did non-assisted members. The data suggest that the client-based pricing structure may be an effective tool for encouraging participation among socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. Open-ended comments were used to identity problems and concerns associated with the administration of the program.





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