Creeping Normalcy: Fractionation of Indian Land Ownership
Jacob W. Russ
George Mason University; Mercatus Center
George Mason University - Buchanan Center Political Economy; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics
December 4, 2013
GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 13-28
In 1992 the General Accounting Office (GAO) published a quantitative survey of Indian land ownership of twelve reservations, which was the first and still is the only survey of Indian land ownership. In our study we use 2010 data to show how ownership fractionation for these reservations has changed since the original GAO study. We find that, despite the whole of Congressional action regarding land fractionation, and the US Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA's) land consolidation programs, fractionation has not only continued, but BIA's complex recordkeeping workload has nearly doubled for the twelve reservations over the eighteen year interval. The GAO estimated that BIA's annual recordkeeping costs for these twelve reservations was between $40 and $50 million. With the addition of over a million new ownership records, due to fractionation, we estimate yearly recordkeeping costs have increased to $246 million in 2010.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: Indian land ownership, ownership fractionation, Indian reservations
Date posted: November 13, 2013 ; Last revised: May 11, 2014
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