Leal is contributing author to Taking Ownership: Property Rights and Fishery Management on the Atlantic Coast (1996), Multiple Conflicts Over Multiple Uses (1994), Taking the Environment Seriously (1993), Breaking the Environmental Policy Gridlock (1997), Who Owns the Environment? (1998), and The Politics and Economics of Park Management (2000). He is coeditor of Government vs. Environment (2002) and editor of Evolving Property Rights in Marine Fisheries (forthcoming). He is coauthor with Terry Anderson of Free Market Environmentalism (1991), which received the 1992 Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award and the 1992 Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award. The revised edition of the book was published in 2001 by Palgrave, St. Martin's Press. Enviro-Capitalists: Doing Good While Doing Well, also coauthored with Anderson, received the 1997 Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award.
Leal has written numerous articles on such topics as privatizing ocean fisheries, water marketing for fish and wildlife, creating self-sustaining parks, and applying the trust concept to public lands. His pieces have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Chicago Tribune, as well as specialized journals.
His current projects include assessing the impact of individual transferable quota programs in fishery management throughout the world and he recently completed an edited volume documenting cases where government programs harm the environment.
He received his B.S. in mathematics and M.S. in statistics from California State University at Hayward.