Economic Heterogeneity and the Commons: Effects on Collective Action and Collective Goods Provisioning
Summary The question of how economic and socio-cultural heterogeneity impacts commons management has been receiving increasing attention, but without resolution. However, the issue is increasingly important in a globalizing world. This paper builds upon recent theoretical works to provide a clearer understanding of the conditions under which we might expect economic inequality to have positive, or negative, effects. Of critical importance to the argument is the distinction between the problem of collective action, and the problem of providing collective goods. A synthetic set of predictions is subsequently developed and tested with a comparative analysis of case studies of fisheries and irrigation systems.
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