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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A Chamblee-Colwell-Dehring-Depken production

A plug for a new working paper of mine with John Chamblee (UGA), Peter Colwell (Illinois) and Carolyn Dehring (UGA) ""The Value of Land Conservation: Evidence from North Carolina " available at SSRN. We appreciate any comments on the paper. Here's the abstract:

We examine conservation activity in western North Carolina, where state income tax credits from land conservation have been available since 1983. Six land trusts, including the Nature Conservancy, undertake conservations in both fee simple and in conservation easement over a twelve year period. We find that value of conserved land differs by conservation mechanism, with fee conservations occurring in localized value craters. The price effect to adjacent land from conservation also varies by conservation mechanism, with greater benefits resulting from conservation easements. The mountainous landscape allows us to measure a variety of pricing effects from land conservation, including view.
The innovations in this paper are two-fold. First, we are the first study to investigate the impact of land conservation, which limits the use of the donated land in perpetuity, on proximate property values. That should be of interest to policy makers.

Second, unlike in a "flat" (sub)urban environment, the focus area is the mountains of Western North Carolina where premiums are placed on views. We show the amenity effects of conservation are not only proximate (as would be expected given the received literature) but also distant. Conservation efforts that protect the "viewshed" of a property contribute to an increase in that property's value. This suggests that land conservation efforts have a potentially larger public benefit than previously understood.

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