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Semicommon Property Rights and Scattering in the Open Fields

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  • Smith, Henry E

Abstract

A semicommons exists where property rights are not only a mix of common and private rights, but both are significant and can interact. The major example of a semicommons is the medieval open-field system in which peasants owned scattered strips of land for grain growing but used the land collectively for grazing. The ownership structure allowed operation on a large scale for grazing and harnessed private incentives for grain growing. But a semicommons potentially leads to problems of strategic behavior that go beyond the familiar incentives to overuse a commons. In order to raise the costs of such behavior devices such as the scattering of strips may be used to mix up entitlements. Generally, boundary placement and norms are substitute methods of addressing strategic behavior in a semicommons. Among these solutions, scattering functions as a sanction for activities associated with strategic behavior. Copyright 2000 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Smith, Henry E, 2000. "Semicommon Property Rights and Scattering in the Open Fields," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 131-169, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:29:y:2000:i:1:p:131-69
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/468066
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    Cited by:

    1. Edwyna Harris, 2011. "The Impact of Institutional Path Dependence on Water Market Efficiency in Victoria, Australia," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 25(15), pages 4069-4080, December.
    2. Lueck, Dean & Miceli, Thomas J., 2007. "Property Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
      • Dean Lueck & Thomas J. Miceli, 2004. "Property Law," Working papers 2004-04, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    3. Magnan, Nicholas, 2015. "Property rights enforcement and no-till adoption in crop-livestock systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 76-83.
    4. Jongwook Kim & Joseph T. Mahoney, 2002. "Resource-based and property rights perspectives on value creation: the case of oil field unitization," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4-5), pages 225-245.
    5. Lee J. Alston & Edwyna Harris & Bernardo Mueller, 2009. "De Facto and De Jure Property Rights: Land Settlement and Land Conflict on the Australian, Brazilian and U.S. Frontiers," NBER Working Papers 15264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Giuseppe Bellantuono, 2014. "The regulatory anticommons of green infrastructures," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 325-354, April.
    7. Bryan Leonard & Gary D. Libecap, 2016. "Collective Action by Contract: Prior Appropriation and the Development of Irrigation in the Western United States," NBER Working Papers 22185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Bertacchini Enrico & De Mot Jef P.B. & Depoorter Ben, 2009. "Never Two Without Three: Commons, Anticommons and Semicommons," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 163-176, April.

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