Several recent empirical studies have indicated that the Endangered Specifies Act (ESA) discourages species conservation on private land. This is because the law encourages landowners to shoot, shovel and shut up before federal authorities discover the species are present or may move onto the land. Most worrisome, the studies suggest that the net effect of the ESA on private land could be negative. Habitat loss and fragmentation represent the greatest threat to endangered species because private land is indispensable to environmental conservation.


ESA, endangered species, perverse incentives, outcome, environmentalism, private land use, habitat destruction, federal regulation, fines, incentives, policy

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30 (4) Regulation 4 (2008)


COinS Jonathan H. Adler Faculty Bio