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The Extermination and Conservation of the American Bison

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  • Lueck, Dean

Abstract

The dramatic near extinction, and subsequent recovery and restoration, of the American bison during the late nineteenth century is examined using a property rights model of renewable resource production. The paper considers the implications of bison exploitation under open-access, common-ownership, and private-property regimes and further examines how these regimes are determined. Implications are tested against historical and anthropological data on bison populations, robe and hide prices, cattle-stocking rates, American military behavior, Indian tribal territories, federal land policy, the costs of harvesting bison, and formal and informal property rights regimes. The study uncovers the details of this famous story in American wildlife conservation and sheds light on the role of markets in extinction and preservation and the evolution of property rights to such large-scale natural resources. Copyright 2002 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Lueck, Dean, 2002. "The Extermination and Conservation of the American Bison," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 609-652, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:31:y:2002:i:2:p:s609-52
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:wdevel:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:1-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Lueck, Dean & Miceli, Thomas J., 2007. "Property Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
      • Dean Lueck & Thomas J. Miceli, 2004. "Property Law," Working papers 2004-04, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    3. M. Scott Taylor, 2011. "Buffalo Hunt: International Trade and the Virtual Extinction of the North American Bison," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3162-3195, December.
    4. Libecap, Gary D., 2007. "The Assignment of Property Rights on the Western Frontier: Lessons for Contemporary Environmental and Resource Policy," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(02), pages 257-291, June.
    5. Donna Feir & Rob Gillezeau & Maggie Jones, 2017. "The Slaughter of the North American Bison and Reversal of Fortunes on the Great Plains," Department Discussion Papers 1701, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.

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