Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Economics

Committee Chair

Douglas Dalenberg

Commitee Members

Neil Moisey, Thomas Power


employment, population, regional adjustment models, regional development, wilderness


University of Montana


This paper examines the role of protected land on population and employment growth in the eleven Western States, which is an important issue in many counties that have high levels of federally owned land. A Carlino and Mills regional adjustment model is used to examine how these land management policies affect the local population and employment opportunities. This model assumes simultaneity in population and employment, so a two-stage least squares regression is used. The empirical evidence suggests that population is attracted to land with a conservation mandate, and that this population increases employment. There is also additional evidence that employment opportunities increase as a direct result of protected landscapes. In addition to these primary findings, population was attracted to a more diverse set of conservation land in the 1990s than the 1980s, but the positive effect of conservation land on employment decreased in the 1990s. Nonetheless, there is no evidence that any sector of employment is harmed by land management policies with a conservation mandate.



© Copyright 2007 Matthew Larson Silbaugh