The Effects of Aquatic Invasive Species on Property Values: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment

Eric J. Horsch and David J. Lewis


This study uses hedonic analysis to estimate the effects of a common aquatic invasive species—Eurasian watermilfoil (milfoil)—on property values across an extensive system of over 170 lakes in the northern forest region of Wisconsin. Since milfoil is inadvertently spread by recreational boaters, and since boaters are more likely to visit attractive lakes, variables indicating the presence of milfoil are endogenous in a hedonic model. Using an identification strategy based on a spatial difference-in-differences specification, results indicate that lakes invaded with milfoil experienced an average 13% decrease in land values after invasion. (JEL Q51, Q57)

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