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Semicommon Property Rights and Scattering in the Open Fields

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  • Smith, Henry E
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    Abstract

    A semicommons exists where property rights are not only a mix of common and private rights, but both are significant and can interact. The major example of a semicommons is the medieval open-field system in which peasants owned scattered strips of land for grain growing but used the land collectively for grazing. The ownership structure allowed operation on a large scale for grazing and harnessed private incentives for grain growing. But a semicommons potentially leads to problems of strategic behavior that go beyond the familiar incentives to overuse a commons. In order to raise the costs of such behavior devices such as the scattering of strips may be used to mix up entitlements. Generally, boundary placement and norms are substitute methods of addressing strategic behavior in a semicommons. Among these solutions, scattering functions as a sanction for activities associated with strategic behavior. Copyright 2000 by the University of Chicago.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Legal Studies.

    Volume (Year): 29 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 131-69

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:29:y:2000:i:1:p:131-69

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    1. > Microeconomics > Transaction Cost Economics
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    Cited by:
    1. Lee J. Alston & Edwyna Harris & Bernardo Mueller, 2009. "De Facto and De Jure Property Rights: Land Settlement and Land Conflict on the Australian, Brazilian and U.S. Frontiers," NBER Working Papers 15264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Giuseppe Bellantuono, 2014. "The regulatory anticommons of green infrastructures," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 325-354, April.
    3. Jongwook Kim & Joseph T. Mahoney, 2002. "Resource-based and property rights perspectives on value creation: the case of oil field unitization," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4-5), pages 225-245.
    4. Edwyna Harris, 2011. "The Impact of Institutional Path Dependence on Water Market Efficiency in Victoria, Australia," Water Resources Management, Springer, vol. 25(15), pages 4069-4080, December.

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