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Appropriable Rents from Yellowstone Park: A Case of Incomplete Contracting


  • Anderson, Terry L
  • Hill, Peter J


The history of Yellowstone Park is best understood in the context of the theory of the firm as developed by Armen Alchian. In the late nineteenth century, the Northern Pacific Railroad recognized the potential amenity rents from Yellowstone and captured them by vertically integrating its monopoly on transportation to the region with the supply of tourist facilities in the park. This gave the railroad de facto ownership of the park that lasted until automobiles were allowed to enter in 1915. Thereafter the tragedy of the commons ensued and rents were dissipated instead of maximized. Copyright 1996 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Anderson, Terry L & Hill, Peter J, 1996. "Appropriable Rents from Yellowstone Park: A Case of Incomplete Contracting," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(3), pages 506-518, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:34:y:1996:i:3:p:506-18

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    Cited by:

    1. Huennemeyer, Anne-Juliane & Rollins, Kimberly S., 2001. "Private Resource Management And Public Trust: Optimal Resource Conservation Contracts Under Asymmetric Information," Working Papers 34141, University of Guelph, Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics.

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