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The Antiquities Act, national monuments, and the regional economy


  • Jakus, Paul M.
  • Akhundjanov, Sherzod B.


Large, landscape-scale national monuments have long been controversial. It has been claimed that large monuments harm local economies by restricting growth of the grazing, timber, mining, and energy industries. Others have asserted that large monuments aid economic growth by reducing reliance on volatile commodity markets and fostering tourism growth. In this study, we use a synthetic control approach to measure the average causal effect of nine national monument designations on county-level per capita income. We find no evidence that monument designation affected per capita income in any of 20 counties hosting nine large (>50,000 acres) national monuments established under the Antiquities Act (six monuments) or by legislative action (three monuments). The broad economic claims of both advocates and critics of large national monuments have little empirical support. The absence of a designation effect for large national monuments is likely due to the attributes of federal land and the legal constraints under which it is managed.

Suggested Citation

  • Jakus, Paul M. & Akhundjanov, Sherzod B., 2019. "The Antiquities Act, national monuments, and the regional economy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 102-117.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:95:y:2019:i:c:p:102-117
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2019.03.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Yong Chen & David J. Lewis & Bruce Weber, 2021. "Natural amenities and skill sorting in rural communities: a case study of land conservation policy," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 67(3), pages 649-669, December.
    3. Hjerpe, Evan & Armatas, Christopher A. & Haefele, Michelle, 2022. "Amenity-based development and protected areas in the American West," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    4. Timothy M. Komarek, 2020. "State‐level austerity, education, and large urban labor markets: Evidence from fiscal policy experiments in Kansas and Wisconsin," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 556-583, June.

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    More about this item


    Antiquities act; National monuments; Regional per capita income; Synthetic control;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products


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