Neither Boon nor Bane: The Economic Effects of a Landscape-Scale National Monument

Paul M. Jakus and Sherzod B. Akhundjanov


The designation of landscape-scale national monuments has generated intense debate as to whether their regional economic effects are positive or negative. National monuments can restrict land uses, thus favoring economic development based on the low-wage tourism industry relative to higher-wage extractive industries. Utah’s Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument has been managed for landscape-scale conservation while protecting existing valid uses. We assess postdesignation trends in the ranching, mining, and tourism industries, after which pre- and postdesignation paths of per capita income are examined using difference-in-differences and synthetic control methods. We conclude that monument designation had no effect on regional per capita income. (JEL Q58, R11)

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