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Abstract

We examine both the short- and long-term effects of newly preserved open space in an exurban landscape. The open space is secured via voluntary perpetual easements that sever the development right from the land. We find mixed results with significant impacts on developable neighboring parcels, both on their likelihood of subdividing and on their likelihood of entering a preservation easement. We show that subdivision and preservation activity disproportionately locates near past neighboring preservation easement activity. The first outcome is an unintended consequence in contrast to policy objectives while the latter is, in fact, a policy induced effect. The analysis relies on a unique spatially explicit parcel-level dataset documenting residential development and preservation activity for almost 30 years, the primary objective is to test for interaction effects among parcels which would be impossible with any other sort of data and the results are robust across models addressing endogeneity concerns.

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