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This paper presents an overview of the economic fundamentals involved in wildlife management, with special consideration for cases involving harmful wildlife-human interactions. The process of benefit-cost analysis is used as a unifying platform for incorporating both theoretical and empirical issues. Topics such as external market effects and public goods are detailed in order to give the reader a theoretical foundation for understanding the economic perspective on the problems associated with defining and attaining optimally managed wildlife populations. To these principles we add practical considerations for measuring the costs and benefits associated with wildlife populations. Different categories of wildlife values, such as use and nonuse values, and alternative methodologies for their measurement are described. The paper concludes with a discussion of areas for improving data collection and value estimation so that the goals and perspectives of economists and wildlife managers can be further integrated.