Questioning the Assumptions of the "Tragedy of the Commons" Model of Fisheries
The "tragedy of the commons" argument predicts the overexploitation of resources held in common. There is a great deal of evidence to the contrary. The descriptive accuracy and predictive validity of six categories of assumptions of the argument are examined. These include individual motivations, characteristics of individuals, nature of institutional arrangements, interactions among users, the ability of users to create new arrangements, and the behavior of regulatory authorities. The tragedy of the commons argument is seriously incomplete. It needs to be replaced by a richer and more accurate framework.