The Costs of Free Land: The Oklahoma Land Rushes—Reply

The Costs of Free Land: The Oklahoma Land Rushes—Reply Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, 19:2, 165±167 (1999) # 1999 Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston. Manufactured in The Netherlands. The Costs of Free Land: The Oklahoma Land RushesÐReply CECIL E. BOHANON AND PHILIP R. P. COELHO Department of Economics, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306-0340 Noel Campbell's comments on our paper raise several issues about the Oklahoma land allocation. We agree with his observation that why speci®c methods of land allocation were used is an interesting and important question. Second, we recognize that, as Campbell points out, the risk preferences of potential settlers do matter. The problem is that it is not clear how to falsify assumptions about risk preferences in any but an heuristic way. These explanations are inevitably ad hoc, always capable of being replaced by another set of equally plausible speculations. Finally, we disagree with Campbell's assertion that our analysis ``underestimates the cost of the land rush by the amount of the cheating or odds-altering expenses.'' Addressing these points in reverse order, Campbell is absolutely correct in asserting that the odds-altering expenses of the land rushes were social costs. Indeed, the Oklahoma land rush is a classic example of a prisoner's dilemma: If all the The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics Springer Journals

The Costs of Free Land: The Oklahoma Land Rushes—Reply

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