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Is the Endangered Species Act Endangering Species?

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  • John A. List
  • Michael Margolis
  • Daniel E. Osgood

Abstract

We develop theory and present a suite of theoretically consistent empirical measures to explore the extent to which market intervention inadvertently alters resource allocation in a sequentialmove principal/agent game. We showcase our approach empirically by exploring the extent to which the U.S. Endangered Species Act has altered land development patterns. We report evidence indicating significant acceleration of development directly after each of several events deemed likely to raise fears among owners of habitat land. Our preferred estimate suggests an overall acceleration of land development by roughly one year. We also find from complementary hedonic regression models that habitat parcels declined in value when the habitat map was published, which is consistent with our estimates of the degree of preemption. These results have clear implications for policymakers, who continue to discuss alternative regulatory frameworks for species preservation. More generally, our modeling strategies can be widely applied -- from any particular economic environment that has a sequential-move nature to the narrower case of the political economy of regulation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12777.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12777

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  1. Bar-Ilan, Avner & Strange, William C, 1996. "Investment Lags," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 610-22, June.
  2. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1998. "Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Working papers 98-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. McDonald, Robert & Siegel, Daniel, 1986. "The Value of Waiting to Invest," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(4), pages 707-27, November.
  5. Capozza, Dennis R. & Helsley, Robert W., 1990. "The stochastic city," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 187-203, September.
  6. Robert Innes & Stephen Polasky & John Tschirhart, 1998. "Takings, Compensation and Endangered Species Protection on Private Lands," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 35-52, Summer.
  7. Lueck, Dean & Michael, Jeffrey A, 2003. "Preemptive Habitat Destruction under the Endangered Species Act," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(1), pages 27-60, April.
  8. Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Robalino, Juan & Villalobos-Fiatt, Laura, 2010. "Conservation Policies and Labor Markets: Unraveling the Effects of National Parks on Local Wages in Costa Rica," Discussion Papers dp-10-02-efd, Resources For the Future.
  2. Grijalva, Therese & Berrens, Robert P. & Shaw, W. Douglass, 2011. "Species preservation versus development: An experimental investigation under uncertainty," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(5), pages 995-1005, March.
  3. Walls, Margaret & Riddle, Anne, 2012. "Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, and Land Use: Comparing Three Federal Policies," Discussion Papers dp-12-08, Resources For the Future.
  4. Robert Innes & George Frisvold, 2009. "The Economics of Endangered Species," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 485-512, 09.

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