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From 'Tragedy' to 'Disaster': Welfare Effects of Commons and Anticommons Dilemmas
International Review of Law and Economics (2006)
  • Sven Vanneste
  • Francesco Parisi, University of Minnesota
  • Alain Vanhiel
  • Ben Depoorter
In this paper, we explore the alleged symmetry between commons and anticommons dilemmas. Our experimental results reveal an interesting asymmetry. Anticommons situations generate greater opportunistic behavior than an equivalent commons dilemma (Study 1), and anticommons dilemmas yield a greater risk for underuse compared to commons dilemmas (Study 2). The results of the present study bring to light important deviations from the economic model, suggesting that other factors, such as behavioral attitudes towards property and psychological variables, affect cooperation differently in anticommons and commons dilemmas. Our findings complement the existing experimental literature on commons dilemmas and contradict the presumed economic symmetry of commons and anticommons problems. The identification of relevant parameters constitutes an interesting line of future research. Such research could identify the parameters that differentiate between the behavioral outcomes imposed by the two dilemma types, and identify subjective factors that underlie people’s behavior in anticommons dilemmas. Our research attests to the potential gravity of the anticommons problem, and we conclude that it is inadequate to extrapolate findings from the commons to the anticommons dilemma.
  • anticommmons,
  • commons
Publication Date
October, 2006
Citation Information
Sven Vanneste, Francesco Parisi, Alain Vanhiel and Ben Depoorter. "From 'Tragedy' to 'Disaster': Welfare Effects of Commons and Anticommons Dilemmas" International Review of Law and Economics Vol. 26 Iss. 1 (2006)
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