IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Traditional property rights, common property, and mobility in semi-arid African pastoralist systems




Traditional pastoralist land management institutions in sub-Saharan Africa have been stressed by an increasing human population and related forces, including private enclosure of grazing land; government-sponsored privatization; and the increasing prevalence of violent conflicts and livestock theft. We model the incompleteness and flexibility of traditional grazing rights using fuzzy set theory. We compare individual and social welfare under the traditional system to individual and social welfare under a private property system and a common property system. Whether the traditional system is preferred to private property depends on whether the value of mobility, as defined by the traditional system, is more valuable than the right of exclusion inherent in private property. We find that under some conditions the imprecision which characterizes traditional rights can result in higher social returns than a common property regime characterized by complete symmetric rights across all members of the user group and complete exclusion of non-members.

Suggested Citation

  • GOODHUE, RACHAEL E. & McCARTHY, NANCY, 2009. "Traditional property rights, common property, and mobility in semi-arid African pastoralist systems," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(01), pages 29-50, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:endeec:v:14:y:2009:i:01:p:29-50_00

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Thornton, Philip K. & Lipper, Leslie, 2014. "How does climate change alter agricultural strategies to support food security?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1340, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:endeec:v:14:y:2009:i:01:p:29-50_00. 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: (Keith Waters). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.