Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 12 No. 3 (Summer 1998)


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Takings, Compensation and Endangered Species Protection on Private Lands

Article Citation

Innes, Robert, Stephen Polasky, and John Tschirhart. 1998. "Takings, Compensation and Endangered Species Protection on Private Lands." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12(3): 35-52.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.3.35


Preserving endangered species on private land benefits the public, but may confer cost on landowners if property is 'taken.' Government compensation to landowners can offset costs, although the Endangered Species Act does not require compensation. The authors survey private economic incentives for species preservation created by alternative property rights and compensation regimes. Compensation will effect investments in land and the willingness of landowners to collect and impart information about their land's preservation value. The authors also address government incentives and how deadweight costs of compensation will influence design of property rights, and how government's susceptibility to interest group pressure may cause inefficient preservation.

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Innes, Robert (U AZ)
Polasky, Stephen (OR State U)
Tschirhart, John (U WY)

JEL Classifications

Q28: Renewable Resources and Conservation: Government Policy
K11: Property Law
K32: Environmental, Health, and Safety Law


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