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The Tragicomedy of the Surfers' Commons

Daniel K. Nazer

Electronic Frontier Foundation


Deakin Law Review, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 655-713, 2004

Surfing provides an excellent case study for power of extra-legal social norms to efficiently regulate public resources. A complicated, cross-cultural set of cooperative norms governs surfers' behavior in the water. These norms promote safety and the efficient sharing of a natural resource: waves. As an ever increasing number of surfers compete for this fixed resource, conflict has become more common and the cooperative norms of surfing are sometimes replaced by the exclusionary practice of "localism." Nevertheless, attempts at formal regulation of surfing have failed and surfing is still governed almost entirely by social norms.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 59

Keywords: norms, surfing, law and economics, tragedy of the commons

JEL Classification: K00, K11

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Date posted: July 3, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Nazer, Daniel K., The Tragicomedy of the Surfers' Commons (2004). Deakin Law Review, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 655-713, 2004. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1154884

Contact Information

Daniel K. Nazer (Contact Author)
Electronic Frontier Foundation ( email )
454 Shotwell St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
United States
Feedback to SSRN

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