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Hugging Trees: Claiming de Facto Property Rights by Blockading Resource Use


  • Peter Burton



This paper explores conflicts between two groups,“the industry” and “theenvironmentalists”, over whether an indivisible resource (e.g., an ancient tree) should be harvested or preserved. In a complete information war ofattrition the environmentalists' willingness to blockade harvest attemptsmay control resource use as effectively as if they held property rights. Optimal government intervention will override this ability for somebenefit/cost combinations but may augment it for other combinations.Introducing uncertainty about the environmentalists' benefits results inextended disputes and consequent lack of efficiency. Governmentintervention for welfare reasons generally reduces these efficiencylosses. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Burton, 2004. "Hugging Trees: Claiming de Facto Property Rights by Blockading Resource Use," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 27(2), pages 135-163, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:27:y:2004:i:2:p:135-163
    DOI: 10.1023/

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bilodeau, Marc & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "Toilet cleaning and department chairing: Volunteering a public service," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 299-308, February.
    2. Kornhauser, Lewis & Rubinstein, Ariel & Wilson, Charles, 1989. "Reputation and Patience in the 'War of Attrition.'," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 56(221), pages 15-24, February.
    3. Bliss, Christopher & Nalebuff, Barry, 1984. "Dragon-slaying and ballroom dancing: The private supply of a public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 1-12, November.
    4. Roth, David, 1996. "Rationalizable Predatory Pricing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 380-396, February.
    5. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "A Theory of Exit in Duopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 943-960, July.
    6. Kreps, David M. & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Reputation and imperfect information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 253-279, August.
    7. Pearce, David G, 1984. "Rationalizable Strategic Behavior and the Problem of Perfection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 1029-1050, July.
    8. Barry Nalebuff & John G. Riley, 1984. "Asymmetric Equilibrium in the War of Attrition," UCLA Economics Working Papers 317, UCLA Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefanie Engel & Charles Palmer & Alexander Pfaff, 2013. "On the Endogeneity of Resource Co-management: Theory and Evidence from Indonesia," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 89(2), pages 308-329.
    2. Engel, Stefanie & Palmer, Charles, 2008. "Payments for environmental services as an alternative to logging under weak property rights: The case of Indonesia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 799-809, May.
    3. repec:eui:euidis:urn:hdl:1814/6935 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Coordes, Renke, 2016. "Coordination of forest management through market and political institutions," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 66-77.
    5. Dijkstra, Bouwe R., 2007. "An investment contest to influence environmental policy," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 300-324, November.
    6. Stefanie Engel & Charles Palmer, 2011. "Complexities of Decentralization in a Globalizing World," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 50(2), pages 157-174, October.

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    environmental protest; war of attrition;


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