A relationship of trust: Are state "school trust lands" being prudently managed for the beneficiary?


Every state entering the Union in the United States since 1803 received land grants from the federal government for the support of their public schools. Inherent in this federal grant is the fiduciary duty to prudently and effectively manage trust assets for the beneficiary, their school systems. This paper addresses the question of whether managers of trust lands are meeting their fiduciary responsibilities of "maximum economic benefit" for their beneficiaries. Realized market value-based economic returns from grazing lease revenues and capital appreciation for all twenty-three counties in Wyoming are compared with returns that may have been generated from alternative investment policy alternatives. Market values and capital appreciation for school trust lands in Wyoming are estimated from hedonic models formulated from ranch sales data and grazing revenue data.

Publication Title

Journal of Real Estate Research

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