Never Two Without Three: Commons, Anticommons and Semicommons
15 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2008 Last revised: 12 Nov 2012
Date Written: July 17, 2008
A semicommons regime exists when the efficient use of a resource requires the coexistence of both common and private uses. In a seminal article, Henry Smith examined the system of semicommons property in regard to medieval open-fields. In such a system, peasants shared common land for collective grazing, but used privately owned scattered strips for grain growing. This paper provides the first formal model of semicommons property regimes. Our model demonstrates (1) how the costs of strategic behavior in semicommons regimes may outweigh those in commons regimes and (2) how semicommons regimes may solve collective action problems by introducing anticommons arrangements. We extend previous property literature by offering new insights as to conditions in which mixed property regimes emerge and fragmentation solutions are favored.
Keywords: commons, anticommons, semicommons, property
JEL Classification: K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation