The Effects of Zebra Mussel Infestations on Property Values: Evidence from Wisconsin

Author: Meder M.E. and Johnson M.
Year: 2021
Digital Object Identifier:

Type: Journal Article
Topic: Socio-Economic Impacts



Containment strategies for invasive species often require significant changes in behavior. Success in fostering these changes requires that individuals correctly perceive the costs and benefits. Yet, while both the ecological and aesthetic impacts of some invasive species are universally negative it less clear how lakefront property owners might view zebra mussel infestations. Zebra mussels negatively affect the local ecology, crowd out native species, and deposit sharp shells on beaches. However, they are also associated with increased water clarity, a reduction in suspended pollutants, and increased numbers of popular game fish. We use a spatial lag and spatial error hedonic model to estimate the impact of zebra mussel infestations on lakefront property prices in Waupaca County, Wisconsin. We find no evidence that homes on infested lakes incur a penalty at sale; consequently, it may be difficult to generate compliance with containment strategies to effectively halt the spread of zebra mussels.

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