PERC History

PERC was created in 1980 by a handful of economists who began by asking the question, "If markets can produce bread and cars, why can't they produce environmental quality?" Since its founding, PERC has moved from being a voice in the wilderness (both literally and figuratively) to holding a prominent place on the environmental policy stage. Today, mainstream thinking has come much closer to PERC's philosophy. "Free market environmentalists are pushing against an open door," says David Morris of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

Research and policy analysis remain a cornerstone of PERC's agenda. Current topics of research include public lands management, water marketing, fisheries preservation, and environmental entrepreneurship. With a growing network of scholars, we expect our flow of ideas to increase.

Furthermore, PERC continues to take its research beyond the bookshelves, through its education and outreach initiatives. We are currently engaged in cultivating a growing number of students, environmental leaders, journalists, teachers, and policy makers so they can put market forces to work in the environment.

We have an exciting agenda at PERC that builds on 35 years of experience—and over the next 35 years, we are confident that we'll continue to nurture a clearer understanding of free market environmentalism, with the growing support of others who are also looking to make a difference.

Help advance free market environmentalism by supporting PERC today!

Terry Anderson explains how free market environmentalism emerged from the Montana ethic.