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Ownership risk and the use of common-pool natural resources


  • Laurent-Lucchetti, Jérémy
  • Santugini, Marc


It has long been recognized that the quality of property rights greatly impacts the economic development of a country and the use of its natural resources. Since Long [13], the conventional wisdom has been that ownership risk induces a firm to overuse the stock of a resource. However, the empirical evidence is mixed. In particular, Bohn and Deacon [1] find that weak property rights have an ambiguous effect on present extraction. We provide a theoretical model supporting these mixed observations in a common-pool resource environment. We show that if ownership risk includes a risk of expropriation in which the identities of the excluded firms are unknown ex ante, then the present extraction of all firms may decrease along with a higher risk of expropriation. The elasticity of demand for the resource is key in explaining the effect of ownership risk on present extraction.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurent-Lucchetti, Jérémy & Santugini, Marc, 2012. "Ownership risk and the use of common-pool natural resources," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 242-259.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:63:y:2012:i:2:p:242-259
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2011.06.001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Dasgupta, Partha, 1981. " Market Structure and Resource Extraction under Uncertainty," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 83(2), pages 318-333.
    2. Farzin, Y Hossein, 1984. "The Effect of the Discount Rate on Depletion of Exhaustible Resources," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(5), pages 841-851, October.
    3. Tornell, Aaron & Velasco, Andes, 1992. "The Tragedy of the Commons and Economic Growth: Why Does Capital Flow from Poor to Rich Countries?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1208-1231, December.
    4. Robert T. Deacon & Henning Bohn, 2000. "Ownership Risk, Investment, and the Use of Natural Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 526-549, June.
    5. J. M. Hartwick & P. A. Sadorsky, 1990. "Duopoly in Exhaustible Resource Exploration and Extraction," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(2), pages 276-293, May.
    6. Koulovatianos, Christos & Mirman, Leonard J., 2007. "The effects of market structure on industry growth: Rivalrous non-excludable capital," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 199-218, March.
    7. Hanan G. Jacoby & Guo Li & Scott Rozelle, 2002. "Hazards of Expropriation: Tenure Insecurity and Investment in Rural China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1420-1447, December.
    8. Salant, Stephen W, 1976. "Exhaustible Resources and Industrial Structure: A Nash-Cournot Approach to the World Oil Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(5), pages 1079-1093, October.
    9. Philip R. Lane & Aaron Tornell, 1999. "The Voracity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 22-46, March.
    10. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2010. "Voracious Transformation Of A Common Natural Resource Into Productive Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(2), pages 365-381, May.
    11. Long, Ngo Van, 1975. "Resource extraction under the uncertainty about possible nationalization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 42-53, February.
    12. Hotte, Louis & Long, Ngo Van & Tian, Huilan, 2000. "International trade with endogenous enforcement of property rights," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 25-54, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Frederick Van der Ploeg, 2012. "Breakthrough Renewables and the Green Paradox," CESifo Working Paper Series 3986, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. van der Ploeg, Frederick & Rohner, Dominic, 2012. "War and natural resource exploitation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1714-1729.
    3. Fesselmeyer, Eric & Santugini, Marc, 2013. "Strategic exploitation of a common resource under environmental risk," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 125-136.
    4. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2012. "Resource Wars and Confiscation Risk," OxCarre Working Papers 097, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
    5. Stöver, Jana, 2016. "Green accounting, institutional quality and investment decisions: Macroeconomic implications from an analysis of the oil and mining sector," HWWI Research Papers 171, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    6. Kelly Wendland & David Lewis & Jennifer Alix-Garcia, 2014. "The Effect of Decentralized Governance on Timber Extraction in European Russia," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 57(1), pages 19-40, January.
    7. Kountouris, Yiannis & Nakic, Zoran & Sauer, Johannes, 2015. "Political instability and non-market valuation: Evidence from Croatia," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 19-39.

    More about this item


    Common-pool resource; Expropriation; Extraction behavior; Ownership risk; Property rights; Tragedy of the commons;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • Q30 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - General


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