Unearthing T. Rex: The Law and Economics of Paleontological Finds

13 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2020

See all articles by Paul Hallwood

Paul Hallwood

University of Connecticut

Thomas J. Miceli

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 1, 2020

Abstract

This paper assesses the economic aspects of the search for and recovery of fossils on U.S. lands. The objective is taken to be the maximization of the social value of these resources, including the market and scientific values. Because independent searchers may not internalize the scientific value, we develop a reward scheme that incentivizes both optimal recovery of finds, and optimal search. We then trace how U.S. federal and state laws have tried to strike a balance between search activity and scientific recovery. We argue that existing law deals well with recovery but does not generally promote optimal search.

Suggested Citation

Hallwood, Paul and Miceli, Thomas J., Unearthing T. Rex: The Law and Economics of Paleontological Finds (October 1, 2020). Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 38, Issue 4, pp. 723-735, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3704364 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/coep.12473

Paul Hallwood (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut

Thomas J. Miceli

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics ( email )

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