You Can't Drag Them Away: An Economic Analysis of the Wild Horse and Burro Program
49 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2012
Date Written: May 21, 2012
Since 1971 wild horses and burros living on federal land have been legally protected. This protection restricts the removal of horses from the range and stipulates restrictive conditions under which removed horses can be transferred to private ownership. The Bureau of Land Management periodically gathers some of these horses to prevent overpopulation on the range. An empirical analysis of BLM gathers finds political as well as biological influences on the probability and size of gathers. Once these horses are removed from the range, BLM tries to place them in private hands. However, the low quality of some wild horses and contractual restrictions prevent many of the animals from being transferred. As a result, BLM incurs substantial costs to feed these animals for the rest of their lives. An empirical analysis of the demand for wild horses decomposes the probability of disposal and the price received for the horses. These results permit analysis of alternative policy regimes that promote disposal of additional animals and lower program costs.
Keywords: wild horses and burros, program analysis, political economy, hedonic analysis
JEL Classification: H43, H82, Q28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation