Symmetric Tragedies: Commons and Anticommons
An anticommons problem arises when there exist multiple rights to exclude. In a lengthy law review paper, Michael A. Heller has examined "The Tragedy of the Anticommons," especially in regard to disappointing experiences with efforts to shift from socialist to market institutions in Russia. In an early footnote, Heller suggests that a formal economic model of the anticommons has not been developed. This paper responds to Heller's challenge. We analyze the anticommons problem in which resources are inefficiently underutilized rather than overutilized, as in the familiar commons setting. The two problems are shown to be symmetrical in several respects. We present an algebraic and geometric illustration and extend the discussion to several applications. Of greater importance, we suggest that the construction is helpful in understanding the sources of major value wastage in modern regulatory bureaucracy. Copyright 2000 by the University of Chicago.
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.:
- 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.
- Anthony Scott, 1955. "The Fishery: The Objectives of Sole Ownership," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 116.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:43:y:2000:i:1:p:1-13. 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: (Journals Division)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.