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Creeping Normalcy: Fractionation of Indian Land Ownership

Author

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  • Jake Russ
  • Thomas Stratmann

Abstract

In 1992 the General Accounting Office (GAO) published a quantitative survey of Indian land ownership of twelve reservations, which was the first and still is the only survey of Indian land ownership. In our study we use 2010 data to show how ownership fractionation for these reservations has changed since the original GAO study. We find that, despite the whole of Congressional action regarding land fractionation, and the US Bureau of Indian Affairs‘ (BIA’s) land consolidation programs, fractionation has not only continued, but BIA’s complex recordkeeping workload has nearly doubled for the twelve reservations over the eighteen year interval. The GAO estimated that BIA’s annual recordkeeping costs for these twelve reservations was between $40 and $50 million. With the addition of over a million new ownership records, due to fractionation, we estimate yearly recordkeeping costs have increased to $246 million in 2010.

Suggested Citation

  • Jake Russ & Thomas Stratmann, 2014. "Creeping Normalcy: Fractionation of Indian Land Ownership," CESifo Working Paper Series 4607, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4607
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp4607.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Anderson, Terry L & Lueck, Dean, 1992. "Land Tenure and Agricultural Productivity on Indian Reservations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 427-454, October.
    2. Carlson, Leonard A., 1978. "The Dawes Act and the Decline of Indian Farming," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(01), pages 274-276, March.
    3. McChesney, Fred S, 1990. "Government as Definer of Property Rights: Indian Lands, Ethnic Externalities, and Bureaucratic Budgets," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 297-335, June.
    4. Randall Akee, 2009. "Checkerboards and Coase: The Effect of Property Institutions on Efficiency in Housing Markets," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(2), pages 395-410, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dimitrova-Grajzl, Valentina & Grajzl, Peter & Guse, A. Joseph & Todd, Richard M., 2015. "Consumer credit on American Indian reservations," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 518-540.
    2. repec:pal:compes:v:60:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1057_s41294-018-0064-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Valentina Dimitrova-Grajzl & Peter Grajzl & A. Joseph Guse & Richard M. Todd & Michael Williams, 2018. "Neighborhood Racial Characteristics, Credit History, and Bankcard Credit in Indian Country," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 60(3), pages 410-441, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Indian land ownership; ownership fractionation; Indian reservations;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • Y10 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Data: Tables and Charts - - - Data: Tables and Charts

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