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Inequality And Conservation On The Local Commons: A Theoretical Exercise

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  • Jeff Dayton-Johnson

    (Dalhousie University)

  • Pranab Bardhan

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

To analyse the effect of asset inequality on co--operation within a group, we consider a two--player nonco--operative model of conservation of a common--pool resource. Overexploitation by one user affects another"s payoff by reducing the next--period catch. We give necessary and sufficient conditions such that conservation is a Nash equilibrium, and show that increasing inequality does not, in general, favour full conservation. However, once inequality is sufficiently great, further inequality can raise efficiency. Thus, the relationship between inequality and economic efficiency is U--shaped. Finally, we analyse the implications for conservation if players have earning opportunities outside the commons. Copyright 2002 Royal Economic Society

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 112 (2002)
Issue (Month): 481 (July)
Pages: 577-602

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:112:y:2002:i:481:p:577-602

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  1. Bardhan, Pranab & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 1999. "Inequality, Market Imperfections, and Collective Action Problems," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt6hg27862, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Pranab Bardhan., 1993. "Rational Fools and Cooperation in a Poor Hydraulic Economy," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C93-015, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. Pranab Bardhan, 1993. "Symposium on Management of Local Commons," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 87-92, Fall.
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  9. Bardhan, Pranab, 2000. "Irrigation and Cooperation: An Empirical Analysis of 48 Irrigation Communities in South India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(4), pages 847-65, July.
  10. Baland, Jean-Marie & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2000. "Halting Degradation of Natural Resources: Is There a Role for Rural Communities?," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290612.
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