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Coasean Economics and the Evolution of Marine Property in Hawaii

Author

Listed:
  • Brooks Kaiser

    (Gettysburg College)

  • James Roumasset

    () (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Abstract

The standard view that the absence of property rights is inefficient contradicts the Coasean proposition that the relative efficiency of different institutions depends on their ability to economize on transaction costs. Moreover, the comparative theory of open access and private property institutions fails to recognize the intermediate institution of common property, finesses dynamic optimization, and provides an incomplete account of governance. We provide a comparative statics framework for alternative modes of resource management, albeit one that allows for dynamic optimization, and show that open access can be efficient under conditions of low population pressure. We show that the intensification of production with population pressure in Hawaii co-evolved with specialization and increased governance, in accordance with the efficiency theory. Instead of market-based specialization, however, economic organization in pre-contact Hawaii was hierarchically determined via top-down management of the ahupua´a.

Suggested Citation

  • Brooks Kaiser & James Roumasset, 2004. "Coasean Economics and the Evolution of Marine Property in Hawaii," Working Papers 200407, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:200407
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    File URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/research/workingpapers/WP_04-7.pdf
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Demsetz; property rights; Hawaiian history; specialization; decentralization;

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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