THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF PUBLIC LAND USE
By: Gardner, B. Delworth
Gardner, B. Delworth, THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF PUBLIC LAND USE, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Volume 22, Issue 1, July 1997, Pages 12-29
Federal ownership and management of the public lands have created a rent-seeking frenzy, inflated rhetoric, wasted resources, and squandered investment opportunities. The primary commodity user groups, grazers and timber harvesters, have declined in importance whereas conservationists and recreationists have gained. Still, historical use preferences and continued rent seeking have produced use entitlements that seem impervious to changing costs and demands and thus result in large wealth losses to consumers and taxpayers. Privatization of the public lands is probably politically infeasible, but simulated market processes can be used to replace political allocations and improve efficiency.