Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bertacchini, De Mot, and Depoorter on Commons, Anticommons and Semicommons

The new Review of Law & Economics has an article by Enrico Bertacchini (University of Torino), Jef P.B. De Mot (University of Ghent) and Ben Depoorter (Miami) called Never Two Without Three: Commons, Anticommons and Semicommons.  Here's the abstract:

A semicommons regime exists when the efficient use of a resource requires the co-existence of both common and private uses. In a seminal article, Henry Smith examined the system of semicommons property in regard to medieval open fields. In such a system, peasants shared common land for collective grazing, but used privately owned scattered strips for grain growing. This paper provides the first formal model of semicommons property regimes. Our model demonstrates (1) how the costs of strategic behavior in semicommons regimes may outweigh those in commons regimes and (2) how semicommons regimes may solve collective action problems by introducing anticommons arrangements. We extend previous property literature by offering new insights as to conditions in which mixed property regimes emerge and fragmentation solutions are favored.

Ben Barros

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Henry's article on the semi-commons was not all that seminal. It was substantially predated by the work of economists Warren Ault and Carl Dahlman.

Posted by: Dan Cole | May 26, 2009 1:52:27 PM

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