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A free lunch in the commons

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  • Kotchen, Matthew J.
  • Salant, Stephen W.

Abstract

We derive conditions under which raising costs through a regulatory constraint or a fully expropriated tax can increase the profits arising from a common-pool resource. The basic model assumes a fixed number of identical agents with linear costs selling in a single period at an exogenous price. A necessary and sufficient condition for a cost increase to be profitable is that aggregate output from the resource be locally convex in aggregate effort. We also show that cost increases can be profitable even if price is endogenous, agents are heterogeneous, entry is costless, or agents are playing a Markov-perfect equilibrium of a dynamic game. We also discuss more general welfare implications of the result along with its relation to existing results for a Cournot oligopoly.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Volume (Year): 61 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 245-253

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:61:y:2011:i:3:p:245-253

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622870

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Keywords: Common-pool resources Cournot oligopoly Policy Profits Welfare;

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References

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  1. Heintzelman, Martin & Salant, Stephen W. & Schott, Stephan, 2008. "Putting Free-Riding to Work: A Partnership Solution to the Common-Property Problem," MPRA Paper 9804, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Baumol,William J. & Oates,Wallace E., 1988. "The Theory of Environmental Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521322249, October.
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  5. Karen Palmer & Wallace E. Oates & Paul R. Portney, 1995. "Tightening Environmental Standards: The Benefit-Cost or the No-Cost Paradigm?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 119-132, Fall.
  6. Tarui, Nori & Mason, Charles F. & Polasky, Stephen & Ellis, Greg, 2008. "Cooperation in the commons with unobservable actions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 37-51, January.
  7. Baye, Michael R. & Hoppe, Heidrun C., 2003. "The strategic equivalence of rent-seeking, innovation, and patent-race games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 217-226, August.
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  9. Chung, Tai-Yeong, 1996. " Rent-Seeking Contest When the Prize Increases with Aggregate Efforts," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 87(1-2), pages 55-66, April.
  10. H. Scott Gordon, 1954. "The Economic Theory of a Common-Property Resource: The Fishery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 124.
  11. Shapiro, Carl, 1989. "Theories of oligopoly behavior," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 329-414 Elsevier.
  12. Baik, Kyung Hwan & Lee, Sanghack, 2001. "Strategic Groups and Rent Dissipation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(4), pages 672-84, October.
  13. Baumol,William J. & Oates,Wallace E., 1988. "The Theory of Environmental Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521311120, October.
  14. Dixit, Avinash K, 1986. "Comparative Statics for Oligopoly," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(1), pages 107-22, February.
  15. Stephen Polasky & Nori Tarui & Gregory Ellis & Charles Mason, 2006. "Cooperation in the commons," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 71-88, September.
  16. Dasgupta,P. S. & Heal,G. M., 1985. "Economic Theory and Exhaustible Resources," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521297615, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. McQuade, Timothy & Salant, Stephen W. & Winfree, Jason, 2009. "Markets with untraceable goods of unknown quality: a market failure exacerbated by globalization," MPRA Paper 21874, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Olivier Bos & Béatrice Roussillon & Paul Schweinzer, 2013. "Agreeing on Efficient Emissions Reduction," CESifo Working Paper Series 4345, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Clémence Christin & Jean-Philippe Nicolai & Jerome Pouyet, 2013. "Pollution Permits, Imperfect Competition and Abatement Technologies," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 13/186, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  4. Ansink, Erik & Bouma, Jetske, 2013. "Effective support for community resource management," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 94-103.

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