Individualism and Governance of the Commons

Forthcoming, Public Choice

40 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2019

See all articles by Meina Cai

Meina Cai

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Ilia Murtazashvili

University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili

University of Pittsburgh

Raufhon Salahodjaev

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: September 13, 2019

Abstract

Individualistic cultures are associated with economic growth and development. Do they also improve governance of the commons? According to the property rights literature, conservation is more likely when the institutions of property arise from a spontaneous process in response to local problems. We argue that individualistic cultures contribute to conservation by encouraging property rights entrepreneurship: efforts by individuals and communities to resolve commons dilemmas, including their investment of resources in securing political recognition of spontaneously arising property rights. We use the theory to explain cross-country rates of change in forest cover. Using both subjective measures of individualistic values and the historical prevalence of disease as instruments for individualism, we find that individualistic societies have higher reforestation rates than collectivist ones, consistent with our theory.

Keywords: Individualism, Collectivism, Private property rights, Tragedy of the commons, Self-governance, Deforestation

JEL Classification: B52, O1, O5, Q2

Suggested Citation

Cai, Meina and Murtazashvili, Ilia and Murtazashvili, Jennifer Brick and Salahodjaev, Raufhon, Individualism and Governance of the Commons (September 13, 2019). Forthcoming, Public Choice, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3453418

Meina Cai

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Ilia Murtazashvili (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15260-0001
United States

Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili

University of Pittsburgh

Raufhon Salahodjaev

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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