Private Provision of a Public Good: Land Trust Membership
Land trusts prevent the development of open space, providing both public and impure public goods to area residents. This study examines the relationship between these benefits and membership levels for a sample of 91 land trusts, while controlling for local demographic and area characteristics. Trusts that offer member-only access to property have higher membership, but most trusts do not provide such benefits. Membership increases with local population, but at a decreasing rate, consistent with the free-riding behavior found in other studies of collective action. The study finds the existence of scope effects with respect to the amount of protected acreage.
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