This book represents a link between two important threads of current RFF research. One of these threads is the "regions under stress" program, begun in 1974 as a follow-on to our regional modeling work for the heavily industrialized lower Delaware River Valley. One of the regions to be studied under this program is the American Southwest, and in particular the Four Corners states: Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. This study by Ingram, Laney, and McCain concentrates on the state legislatures in that region. Its purpose is to explore the representativeness and potential responsiveness of these institutions, faced as they are with enormous problems of coping with rapid growth, booming energy resource exploitation, and increasing competition for scarce water resources.
This purpose provides the link to the second RFF program: institutional research. In this case, the interest has existed almost since RFF's birth, though it has waxed and waned with changes in the staff. Its most recent incarnation displays both similarities to and differences from the mainstream of the tradition. Recent studies have shared with the past an emphasis on application and empirical results rather than theory. They have differed because they have reflected an awakening of interest in the field of public choice and the importance of such issues as decision processes and the representation of affected interests. These new threads in RFF's work owe much to the influence of Edwin Haefele whose work