Dominic Parker

Visiting Fellow
Biography: 

Dominic Parker, a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, is an associate professor in agricultural and applied economics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a senior fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center. In addition to serving editorial roles at three leading journals in environmental and resource economics, he is a regular lecturer for the Ronald Coase Institute and the Elinor Ostrom Workshop.

Parker’s research appears in economics, science, and law journals and it spans topics in environmental and development economics. It includes studies of environmental markets, mining in Africa, oil booms and busts, land use, fishery and wildlife regulations, and renewable energy. His research on the unintended effects of US financial regulation on African mining economies, and of wolves on deer-vehicle collisions in the US, has received widespread attention from over 100 media outlets including BBC News, Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, the Associated Press, and The Economist. His research has also provided input for a US Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee and an OECD advisory panel on global supply chain issues.  

Parker joins Hoover Senior Fellow Terry Anderson in directing the Hoover Project on Renewing Indigenous Economies. He has published on this subject in venues such as The Economic Journal, the Journal of Development Economics, AEA Papers & Proceedings, and the Journal of Law & Economics. He holds a PhD in economics from UC-Santa Barbara where he was a National Science Foundation fellow in environmental economics & science.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Allow “nonuse rights” to conserve natural resources

by Bryan Leonard, Shawn Regan, Dominic Parker, Andrew Plantinga, V. Kerry Smithvia Science
Friday, August 27, 2021

Market approaches to environmental conservation, by which mechanisms such as property rights, prices, and contracts are used to advance environmental goals, have gained traction globally in recent decades. But in many cases, antiquated rules limit their role in conserving public natural resources. “Use-it-or-lose-it” requirements, together with narrow definitions of eligible “uses,” can preclude environmental groups from participating in markets for natural resources. These restrictions can bias resource management in favor of extractive users, even when conservation interests are willing to pay more to protect resources from development. 

Additional Co-Authors: Christopher Costello, Suzi Kerr, James Salzman, and Temple Stoellinger

Analysis and Commentary

Wolves make roadways safer, generating large economic returns to predator conservation

by Dominic Parkervia Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Measuring the economic benefits conveyed by predators is difficult—often, effects are indirect and operate through complex ecological changes. As a result, debates about the expansion of predators have pit salient costs against more speculative estimates of benefits that might be dismissed as unreliable or ideologically motivated. We quantify the indirect benefits of wolves (Canis lupus) to human lives and property through reductions in deer-vehicle collisions. Moreover, we decompose the effect into two components: changes in prey behavior versus prey abundance. This decomposition is important when effective policy depends on whether hunters can replicate the effects of predators. In the case of wolves, we conclude that human deer hunters cannot.

Co-Authors: Jennifer L. Raynor, Corbett A. Grainger

Analysis and Commentary

Indigenous Self-Governance and Development on American Indian Reservations

by Dustin Frye, Dominic Parkervia American Economic Association
Saturday, May 1, 2021

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People promotes self-governance as a matter of justice rather than economics. How will self-governance affect the incomes of indigenous people? To gain insight, we compare long-run income growth on American Indian reservations with and without federal oversight through the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act. Reservations with more autonomy had 12–15 percent higher income per capita in 2016, even conditional on 1930s income. However, these more autonomous reservations also experienced wider income variance with more downside risk. The findings are consistent with theory emphasizing the development trade-offs between local and centralized governance.

Oil Drilling

Fragmented Ownership and Natural Resource Use: Evidence from the Bakken

by Dominic Parkervia Oxford Academic: The Economic Journal
Friday, September 25, 2020

Does land fragmentation impair spatially expansive natural resource use? We conduct empirical tests using ownership variation on the Bakken, one of the world's most valuable shale oil reserves. Long before shale was discovered, U.S. policies created a mosaic of private, jointly owned, and tribal government parcels on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. We find that all three forms of fragmentation reduced production during the 2010–2015 oil boom, especially joint ownership and the interspersion of small parcels of government and private land. We estimate implied gains from consolidation and discuss implications for the use (or conservation) of other spatially expansive resources.

Land quality, land rights, and indigenous poverty

by Dominic Parker, Terry Andersonvia Journal of Development Economics
Sunday, March 1, 2020

Agricultural land endowments should contribute positively to economic growth, but in countries colonized by European powers this has not always happened. Productive land attracted colonization, which disrupted Indigenous institutions in ways that can stunt development. American Indian reservations provide a powerful example.

In the News

Un-American Reservations

by Terry Anderson, Dominic Parkervia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why don't our Indian lands have secure property rights...?

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Un-American Reservations

by Terry Anderson, Dominic Parkervia Defining Ideas
Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why don't our Indian lands have secure property rights?