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State-Level Variation in Land-Trust Abundance: Could it Make Economic Sense?

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  • Ando, Amy
  • Albers, Heidi

Abstract

Few economic analyses examine land trusts, their decisions, and the land-trust “industry,” despite their growing importance. For example, statistics on the wide variation in the number of trusts in different regions of the United States raise questions about whether such variation makes economic sense. This paper builds a model to identify the optimal number of private conservation agents. The model depicts two competing forces: regional spatial externalities in conservation benefits that increase the efficiency of having fewer agents and organizational costs, and fund-raising specialization, which increases the efficiency of having more agents. Using state-level variables, we perform a count-data analysis of the number of trusts conserving land in each state. We find that the number of trusts actually observed is consistent with the optimal number of trusts that is predicted by the model on the basis of the relative importance of spatial externalities and organizational size in different regions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-01-36.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2001
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-01-36

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Keywords: Land Trusts; public goods; organizational size; conservation benefits; U.S. land conservation;

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  1. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  2. N. Gregory Mankiw & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 48-58, Spring.
  3. Albers, Heidi J., 1996. "Modeling Ecological Constraints on Tropical Forest Management: Spatial Interdependence, Irreversibility, and Uncertainty," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 73-94, January.
  4. Jerry A. Hausman & Bronwyn H. Hall & Zvi Griliches, 1984. "Econometric Models for Count Data with an Application to the Patents-R&D Relationship," NBER Technical Working Papers 0017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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