Nonmarket Valuation: Montana Amenity Valuation

In the last two decades, Montana has experienced dramatic growth and change related to land use, the management of wildlife, the growth of residential areas, and the natural aesthetics of the region. Decisions made by local governments and citizen groups will likely affect the quality of life in the region for decades to come. In order to better understand the dynamics of land use, researchers from Iowa State University, in collaboration with University of Iowa, University of Arizona, and Montana State University-Billings, study three counties in southern-Montana in different stages of economic development: Beaverhead, Madison, and Park County. Three instruments are used: (1) a scoping survey designed to elicit a baseline of preferences about where residents would like to and where they currently live, (2) a hedonic property value model to quantify the welfare effects of changes in viewscape caused by development, and (3) and agent-based computational economic (ACE) model to understand the dynamics of the decision process of local governments.