This paper reviews literature addressing the benefits and costs of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro (WHB) Program. Within the framework of a comprehensive benefit cost analysis of the WHB Program, I find that program cost estimates are readily available from numerous sources. A more limited set of estimates of the opportunity cost of WHB on the range is available, as is a single estimate of the benefits provided by animal adoption. In contrast, there are no economic estimates of ecological damages caused by WHB in excess of the Appropriate Management Level, nor does a search of the literature reveal any estimate of the use and nonuse benefits of having WHB on the range. Dynamic bioeconomic models—which would be ideal for analysis of intertemporal program benefits and costs—have been restricted, for the most part, to only the analysis of costs. Further, I demonstrate how published opportunity cost estimates have sometimes been misinterpreted. This study sorts out confusion regarding reported opportunity costs and, using the missing elements of the comprehensive benefit cost analysis as a guide, identifies a path for future research.
Jakus, Paul M.
"A Review of Economic Studies Relating to the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Program,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 12
, Article 8.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol12/iss1/8