UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An empirical test of a probabilistic model of consumer spatial behaviour Wiginton, John Cameron


This thesis is concerned with making an empirical test of a probabilistic model of intra-urban retail trade interactions. The model, termed a probabilistic model of consumer spatial behaviour, is related to a series of models in social science known as gravimetric models. The particular model considered used store area and distance in time units as its major variables. It also includes an exponential parameter, the value of which must be estimated from empirical data. The major hypothesis on which the model is tested is based on the behaviour of this parameter. The hypothesis states that values of this parameter vary significantly, depending upon the type of shopping trip being considered. The type of shopping trip is determined by the particular type of shopping goods apparently sought by the consumer. The hypothesis is tested by means of empirical data on consumer purchasing patterns gathered in the Vancouver Metropolitan area through the use of an interview survey conducted randomly by census tracts. The data are analyzed in an especially written, iterative computer programme. Statistical tests usually applied to such data are found to be inadequate to the analysis of the results. A special test which is intended to show the sensitivity of the model to the parameter is presented and applied. An independent test of the representativeness of the data is presented. The data are found to be representative, but the model is found to be insensitive to the behaviour of the parameter. Further, measures of variation in observed behaviour explained by the model are generally low. It is concluded that the model in its present form does not apply to Vancouver. The thesis is unable to conclude whether changes are required in the factors of the model or in the relationship specified, though there is evidence which shows that both may require attention.

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