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

Christiane von Reichert, Kay Unger


county, economics


University of Montana


There is controversy over the role that federal land plays in shaping rural counties in the Western United States. Some argue that the restrictive policies imposed on federal lands harm rural economies because the extractive industry is not allowed to operate at its potential. Others believe that those restrictions benefit rural economies because households and firms are attracted to beautiful areas with minimal industry. A lagged adjusted model is used to estimate the effects of Bureau of Land Management (BLM), United States Forest Service (USFS), and National Parks Service (NPS) lands on population, employment, and income. The study focuses on the Rocky Mountain West States during the 1990s. The equations are estimated simultaneously using 2SLS, 3SLS, and reduced form OLS procedures. The presence of USFS land was found to have a positive impact on employment, and the presence of NPS land positively impacted income. However, the magnitude of both effects was quite small. The argument that federal land harms rural economies was not verified, but federal land did not have a strong positive impact either.



© Copyright 2009 Stephen Michael Cleverdon