Working Papers
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Voting for Public Funding of Open Space

Jeffrey O. Sundberg

November 2006, English

Over one thousand conservation referenda have been on ballots across the country between 2000 and 2005. More than three-quarters of them have been approved by voters. This public form of land conservation could be a substitute or a complement to the private land conservation provided by land trusts. Land trusts frequently campaign in favor of these referenda. This paper finds that the presence of county or local land trusts results in a statistically significant increase in the higher percentage of ‘yes’ votes for such referenda in local elections. The finding is not explained by differences in funding mechanisms that might be more attractive to voters. Controlling for the impact of demographic variables does not reduce the estimated impact of land trust presence.


Conservation, Land Trusts