IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The Problem of the Commons: Still Unsettled after 100 Years

  • Robert N. Stavins

The problem of the commons is more important to our lives and thus more central to economics than a century ago when Katharine Coman led off the first issue of the American Economic Review. As the US and other economies have grown, the carrying capacity of the planet--in regard to natural resources and environmental quality--has become a greater concern, particularly for common-property and open-access resources. The focus of this article is on some important, unsettled problems of the commons. Within the realm of natural resources, there are special challenges associated with renewable resources, which are frequently characterized by open-access. An important example is the degradation of openaccess fisheries. Critical commons problems are also associated with environmental quality. A key contribution of economics has been the development of market-based approaches to environmental protection. These instruments are key to addressing the ultimate commons problem of the twenty-first century-global climate change. (JEL Q15, Q21, Q22, Q25, Q54)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.101.1.81
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 81-108

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:1:p:81-108
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aer/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Elinor Ostrom, 2010. "Beyond Markets and States: Polycentric Governance of Complex Economic Systems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 641-72, June.
  2. Junsoo Lee & John A. List & Mark Strazicich, 2005. "Nonrenewable Resource Prices: Deterministic or Stochastic Trends?," NBER Working Papers 11487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kerr, Suzi & Sanchirico, James & Newell, Richard, 2002. "Fishing Quota Markets," Discussion Papers dp-02-20, Resources For the Future.
  4. Carlson, Curtis & Burtraw, Dallas & Cropper, Maureen & Palmer, Karen L., 1998. "Sulfur dioxide control by electric utilities : what are the gains from trade?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1966, The World Bank.
  5. Aldy, Joseph & Barrett, Scott & Stavins, Robert, 2003. "Thirteen Plus One: A Comparison of Global Climate Policy Architectures," Working Paper Series rwp03-012, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  6. Newell, Richard G. & Pizer, William A., 2003. "Regulating stock externalities under uncertainty," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(2, Supple), pages 416-432, March.
  7. Robert N. Stavins, 2008. "Addressing Climate Change with a Comprehensive U.S. Cap-and-Trade System," Working Papers 2008.67, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  8. Robert W. Hahn & Robert N. Stavins, 2010. "The Effect of Allowance Allocations on Cap-and-Trade System Performance," NBER Working Papers 15854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Lawrence Summers & Richard Zeckhauser, 2008. "Policymaking for posterity," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 115-140, December.
  10. Weitzman, Martin L, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 477-91, October.
  11. Richard G. Newell & Adam B. Jaffe & Robert N. Stavins, 1999. "The Induced Innovation Hypothesis And Energy-Saving Technological Change," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 941-975, August.
  12. 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.
  13. Stavins Robert N., 1995. "Transaction Costs and Tradeable Permits," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 133-148, September.
  14. Newell, Richard G & Stavins, Robert N, 2003. "Cost Heterogeneity and the Potential Savings from Market-Based Policies," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 43-59, January.
  15. Stavins, Robert & Jaffe, Adam & Newell, Richard, 2004. "A Tale of Two Market Failures: Technology and Environmental Policy," Discussion Papers dp-04-38, Resources For the Future.
  16. Nicholas Z. Muller & Robert Mendelsohn, 2009. "Efficient Pollution Regulation: Getting the Prices Right," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1714-39, December.
  17. repec:reg:rpubli:47 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. A. Denny Ellerman & Nick Johnstone & Friedrich Schneider & Alexander F. Wagner & Juan-Pablo Montero & Johann Wackerbauer, 2003. "Tradable Permits," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 4(1), pages 3-32, October.
  19. Elinor Ostrom, 2011. "Reflections on "Some Unsettled Problems of Irrigation"," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 49-63, February.
  20. Thomas W. Hazlett & Roberto E. Muñoz, 2009. "A welfare analysis of spectrum allocation policies," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(3), pages 424-454.
  21. Robert S. Pindyck, 2010. "Fat Tails, Thin Tails, and Climate Change Policy," NBER Working Papers 16353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. William D. Nordhaus, 1992. "Lethal Model 2: The Limits to Growth Revisited," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 1-60.
  23. Stavins, Robert, 2000. "Experience with Market-Based Environmental Policy Instruments," Working Paper Series rwp00-004, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  24. Opsomer Jean-Didier & Conrad Jon M., 1994. "An Open-Access Analysis of the Northern Anchovy Fishery," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 21-37, July.
  25. Fischer, Carolyn & Parry, Ian W. H. & Pizer, William A., 2003. "Instrument choice for environmental protection when technological innovation is endogenous," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 523-545, May.
  26. Jaffe Adam B. & Stavins Robert N., 1995. "Dynamic Incentives of Environmental Regulations: The Effects of Alternative Policy Instruments on Technology Diffusion," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages S43-S63, November.
  27. Pindyck, Robert S, 1984. "Uncertainty in the Theory of Renewable Resource Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 289-303, April.
  28. Weitzman, Martin L., 2002. "Landing Fees vs Harvest Quotas with Uncertain Fish Stocks," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 325-338, March.
  29. Kerr, Suzi & Newell, Richard, 2001. "Policy-Induced Technology Adoption: Evidence from the U.S. Lead Phasedown," Discussion Papers dp-01-14, Resources For the Future.
  30. Jung, Chulho & Krutilla, Kerry & Boyd, Roy, 1996. "Incentives for Advanced Pollution Abatement Technology at the Industry Level: An Evaluation of Policy Alternatives," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 95-111, January.
  31. Homans, Frances R. & Wilen, James E., 1997. "A Model of Regulated Open Access Resource Use," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-21, January.
  32. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521196475 is not listed on IDEAS
  33. Louis Kaplow, 2010. "Taxes, Permits, and Climate Change," NBER Working Papers 16268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Hahn, Robert W, 1984. "Market Power and Transferable Property Rights," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(4), pages 753-65, November.
  35. Malueg, David A., 1990. "Welfare consequences of emission credit trading programs," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 66-77, January.
  36. James N. Sanchirico & James E. Wilen, 2007. "Global marine fisheries resources: status and prospects," International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 7(2/3), pages 106-118.
  37. Smith, Martin D. & Wilen, James E., 2003. "Economic impacts of marine reserves: the importance of spatial behavior," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 183-206, September.
  38. Montgomery, W. David, 1972. "Markets in licenses and efficient pollution control programs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 395-418, December.
  39. Joskow, Paul L & Schmalensee, Richard, 1998. "The Political Economy of Market-Based Environmental Policy: The U.S. Acid Rain Program," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 37-83, April.
  40. Eirik Amundsen & Trond Bjørndal & Jon Conrad, 1995. "Open access harvesting of the Northeast Atlantic minke whale," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 6(2), pages 167-185, September.
  41. Milliman, Scott R. & Prince, Raymond, 1989. "Firm incentives to promote technological change in pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-265, November.
  42. Daniel Bromley, 1992. "The commons, common property, and environmental policy," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(1), pages 1-17, January.
  43. Weber, T.A. & Neuhoff, K., 2009. "Carbon Markets and Technological Innovation," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0932, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  44. Freeman, Jody & Kolstad, Charles D., 2006. "Moving to Markets in Environmental Regulation: Lessons from Twenty Years of Experience," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195189650, March.
  45. James E. Wilen, 2007. "Economics of Spatial-Dynamic Processes," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1134-1144.
  46. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2009. "Market-Based Policy Options to Control U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 5-27, Spring.
  47. Henderson, J. V. & Tugwell, M., 1979. "Exploitation of the lobster fishery: Some empirical results," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 287-296, December.
  48. Nicholas Z. Muller & Robert Mendelsohn, 2012. "Efficient Pollution Regulation: Getting the Prices Right: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 608-12, February.
  49. Robert N. Stavins, 1998. "What Can We Learn from the Grand Policy Experiment? Lessons from SO2 Allowance Trading," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 69-88, Summer.
  50. Anthony Scott, 1955. "The Fishery: The Objectives of Sole Ownership," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 116.
  51. Smith, Martin D. & Sanchirico, James N. & Wilen, James E., 2009. "The economics of spatial-dynamic processes: Applications to renewable resources," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 104-121, January.
  52. Nathaniel O. Keohane, 2009. "Cap and Trade, Rehabilitated: Using Tradable Permits to Control U.S. Greenhouse Gases," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(1), pages 42-62, Winter.
  53. John Livernois, 2009. "On the Empirical Significance of the Hotelling Rule," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(1), pages 22-41, Winter.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:1:p:81-108. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

or (Michael P. Albert)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.