The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving environmental quality through property rights and markets. PERC was founded on the principle that individual liberty, secure property rights, and free markets are essential to the conservation of environmental resources.
PERC stands for the Property and Environment Research Center.
Originally, the “PERC” acronym stood for the Political Economy Research Center because most of our early scholarship was dedicated to understanding how government policies impacted the environment.
When our research focus shifted to understanding how property rights can enhance environmental quality, we changed the name.
PERC conducts research on natural resource issues. Current topics of research include private conservation, water marketing, wildlife habitat management, fisheries preservation, environmental entrepreneurship, and public lands management. The goal of PERC’s research is to advance our understanding of complex environmental issues and challenge assumptions about whether and how markets and property rights can enhance environmental quality.
PERC disseminates ideas through publications and educational outreach. The goals are to inform the public on questions of environmental policy, and to inspire new and creative approaches to resolving environmental conflict.
PERC empowers enviropreneurs (environmental entrepreneurs) by providing the skills, training, and experiences necessary to scale up entrepreneurial efforts that improve the environment using contracts and markets.
PERC is the place where:
- scholars refine the principles of free market environmentalism;
- policy, business, and opinion leaders turn for environmental solutions; and
- environmental entrepreneurs pair conservation and economic profit.
Free market environmentalism (FME) is an approach to environmental problems that focuses on improving environmental quality using property rights and markets.
Basic principles of FME and examples of common-sense solutions to environmental challenges are described in further detail here.
In this video, Terry Anderson explains how free market environmentalism emerged from the Montana ethic.
As a private 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, PERC relies on donations from foundations (90% of its annual budget), individuals (8% of its annual budget), and corporations (less than 2% of its annual budget). In order to maintain independence, PERC accepts no government funding.
Our donor base has changed over time, but we have consistently championed property rights and markets as solutions for environmental issues since our founding.
PERC’s 990s and further information about PERC’s budget and funding are available on Guidestar.