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Quality and the Commons: The Surf Gangs of California

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  • Daniel T. Kaffine

Abstract

In open-access settings, high-quality resources are lucrative, yet fencing out potential entrants may be very costly. I examine the endogenous creation of property rights, focusing on the incentives that resource quality provides to close the commons. Analytical examples explore the incentives of locals to increase or decrease the strength of property rights conditional on how locals and nonlocals value the quality of the resource. The empirical analysis looks at a unique resource-surf breaks-and estimates the relationship between the exogenous quality of the resource (waves at the surf break) and local attempts to seize the common surf break. Using cross-sectional data on 86 surf breaks along the southern California coast, this paper finds that a 10 percent increase in quality leads to a 7-17 percent increase in the strength of property rights. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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  • Daniel T. Kaffine, 2009. "Quality and the Commons: The Surf Gangs of California," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(4), pages 727-743, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:52:y:2009:i:4:p:727-743
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anthony Scott, 1955. "The Fishery: The Objectives of Sole Ownership," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 116-116.
    2. Rider, Robert, 1998. "Hangin' Ten: The Common-Pool Resource Problem of Surfing," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(1-2), pages 49-64, October.
    3. 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 124-124.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Property Rights, Snow, and Parking
      by Josh Wright in Truth on the Market on 2010-12-31 09:38:33

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    Cited by:

    1. Hughes, Jonathan E. & Kaffine, Daniel, 2017. "When is increasing consumption of common property optimal? Sorting, congestion and entry in the commons," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 227-242.
    2. Jonathan E. Hughes & Daniel Kaffine, 2013. "When is Encouraging Consumption of Common Property Second Best? Sorting, Congestion and Entry in the Commons," Working Papers 2013-05, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.
    3. McGregor, Thomas & Wills, Samuel, 2016. "Natural Assets: Surfing a Wave of Economic Growth," Working Papers 2016-06, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
    4. Franklin Mixon, 2014. "Bad vibrations: new evidence on commons quality and localism at California’s surf breaks," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 61(4), pages 379-397, December.
    5. Ponting, Jess & O’Brien, Danny, 2015. "Regulating “Nirvana”: Sustainable surf tourism in a climate of increasing regulation," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 99-110.
    6. Claudia R. Williamson & Carrie B. Kerekes, 2011. "Securing Private Property: Formal versus Informal Institutions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(3), pages 537-572.

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