Texas Tech University

Governing Natural Resources in the American West

About the Program

The Free Market Institute (FMI) at Texas Tech University has invited papers for a research program focused on the theme of Governing Natural Resources in the American West. The goal of the program is to examine both historical and contemporary challenges related to the use and conservation of natural resources, with a special emphasis on issues affecting the western United States. The paper submissions focus on the rules — such as property rights, regulations, and customs — that govern resource use, as well as a number of other related issues.

The program will feature a public presentation on Thursday, August 24, 2017 from Prof. P.J. Hill on the development of property rights in the American West. This program is co-sponsored by the National Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech University and is free and open to all members of the Texas Tech University community and the general public. More information about this program can be found at the FMI Public Speaker Series page.

Authors of the invited submissions will visit Texas Tech University to participate in a working research conference on Friday, August 25, 2017. The working research conference is limited to invitation from the faculty and staff of the FMI. The goal of the conference is to provide critical, but constructive feedback on each of the invited papers in advance of their submission to peer-reviewed academic journals for publication.

Invited Research

  • Resource Governance in the American West: Bottom-Up or Top-Down? — Peter J. Hill, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Wheaton College and Shawn Regan, Director of Publications at Property and Environment Research Center
  • The Language We Speak: Addressing Property Rights and Natural Resources Problems — Andrew P. Morriss, Dean, School of Innovation & Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Texas A&M University (co-authored with Roger E. Meiners, Goolsby Distinguished Professor of Economics and Law at University of Texas at Arlington
  • Custom and the Formalization of Mineral Property Rights: Evidence from the Supreme Court of Colorado, 1868-1895 — Eric Alston, Faculty Director of Hernando de Soto Capital Markets Program, Leeds School of Business at University of Colorado Boulder
  • The Effects of Cost Depletion Allowance on the Ogallala Aquifer — Zachary Donohew, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Finance, Insurance and Risk Management at University of Central Arkansas
  • Prime Land, Property Rights, and Paternalism: Economic Performance and Resource Endowments on American Indian Reservations — Bryan Leonard, Assistant Professor in School of Sustainability at Arizona State University (co-authored with Terry L. Anderson, John and Jean DeNault Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution at Stanford University and Dominic Parker, Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics at University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • Beef Cattle Producers' Response to Endangered Species Regulations — Trey Malone, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University (co-authored with Richard Melstrom, Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University)
  • Oil Rents and State Economic Policy — Dean Stansel, Research Associate Professor, O'Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom, Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University (co-authored with Colin O'Reilly, Assistant Professor of Economics, Heider College of Business at Creighton University)
  • The Political Economy of Water Rights in Southern Arizona - Late 19th Century — Mario Villareal-Diaz, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Associate Director, Center for Philosophy of Freedom at University of Arizona
  • Developing Together? Understanding the Interaction between Federal Lands, Amenity-Based Tourism and Extractive Industries — Ryan Yonk, Assistant Research Professor, Department of Economics and Finance at Utah State University


FMI Political Economy Research Fellow, Adam Martin, serves as the program coordinator for this research initiative. Please contact him at adam.martin@ttu.edu with any questions about the program.

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