The Determinants of Territorial Property Rights in a Spatial Commons Experiment

67 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2014 Last revised: 11 Dec 2014

Peter Twieg

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Kevin A. McCabe

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 18, 2014

Abstract

We study the conditions under which effective institutions of commons management emerge in a context-rich spatiotemporal environment. We build an experiment that allows individuals to make costly commitments to specialize in the collection of certain types of a heterogeneous common resource with stochastic but independent replenishment rates. We demonstrate that the presence of costly specialization can facilitate the emergence of effective commons-management institutions. In particular, when specialization is costly, groups establish stronger territorial property rights, and the establishment of these rights allows groups to avoid the tragedy of the commons.

Keywords: institutions, commons management

Suggested Citation

Twieg, Peter and McCabe, Kevin A., The Determinants of Territorial Property Rights in a Spatial Commons Experiment (November 18, 2014). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 14-40. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2503260 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2503260

Peter Twieg (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Kevin A. McCabe

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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