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Land Values as a Measure of Returns to Water Resource Investments

  • Dale Colyer (a1) and Leslie J. Selzer (a2)


The role that natural resources play in economic development and the effects of investments in natural resources on economic development have been matters of disagreement among economists. An excellent review of the arguments was given by Jansma in his analysis of studies on the investment in small watershed projects for S-71, a Southern Regional Research project C3). The general conclusion was that there were few measurable effects on employment and income from such projects and that these generally were noticeable only after a lag of several years. Colyer, however, in a study of the effects of natural resources on the levels and changes in income and employment in West Virginia concluded that there were links, although not necessary ones, between resource endowments and measures of economic development (1).



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1. Colyer, Dale, “Natural Resources in Community Development: A Preliminary Study”, J. Northeastern Agr. Econ. Council: October 1975.
2. Downing, Roger H. and Dean Jansma, J., The Economic Impact of Public Investment on Property Values in York County, 1950–1965 Research Publication No. 61, The Institute for Research on Land and Water Resources, Penn. State Univ., April 1970.
3. Jansma, J. Dean, Measuring the Impact of Rural Development Activities on Natural Resource Investment, Staff Paper #10, Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida, July 1975.
4. Knetch, Jack L., “The Influence of Reservoir Projects on Land Values,” J. Farm Economics, 41: 234243, May 1964.
5. Seagraves, James A., “Capitalized Values of Tobacco Allotments and the Rate of Return to Allotment Owners”, American J. of Agricultural Economics, 51: 320334, May 1969.
6. Selzer, Leslie J., The Effects of Flood Control Reservoir Projects on Regional Land Values in West Virginia, Unpublished Ph.D. Disertation, West Virginia University, Morgantown, 1975.


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