PERC—the Property and Environment Research Center—is the nation’s first and largest institute dedicated to improving environmental quality through property rights and markets. Founded more than 30 years ago in Bozeman, Montana, PERC began as a think tank where scholars documented how government regulation and bureaucracy often led to environmental degradation. PERC sought to explore how property rights and markets could play a more direct role in improving environmental quality. From this work originated the idea of free market environmentalism (FME).
PERC researchers began to find real world examples of how FME works on the ground. To encourage the transition of FME from theory to action, PERC established a program to empower individuals—environmental entrepreneurs—by showing them how property rights, contracts, and the market process can be used to improve environmental quality. PERC's Enviropreneur Institute now attracts people from around the globe who are enhancing environmental assets by putting PERC's ideas into practice.
PERC continues to evolve, the newest development being PERC University. The PERC campus is a place where scholars, journalists, policy makers, and environmental practitioners can come together to share knowledge, refine their work, and engage in robust discussion. "PERC U" is flourishing as representatives of many disciplines inspire and push each other to further explore the possibilities and applications of free market environmentalism.