The impact on wages of wilderness designation in Montana

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Agriculture


The wilderness debate has largely been polarized into two main factions: the environmentalists, including groups such as the Montana Wilderness Society, which favors land preservation, and industrial groups, such as the Montana Wood Products Association, which favors extractive activities on public land. The debate includes both philosophical and economic considerations. The philosophical debate centers around the ethically correct use of public land, while the economic debate focuses on which type of land use provides the highest level of economic well-being to the citizens in adjacent areas. Historically, both sides have claimed that their particular land-use alternative provides the highest level of economic well-being, while neither side has convincing evidence to support its claim. One of the more important aspects of the economic debate has focused on jobs and which alternative provides more of them. An additional concern is how each alternative affects the wage rate in adjacent areas. The primary goal of this investigation is to estimate the effect, if any, of wilderness designation on the wages in areas adjacent to wilderness.




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