Conservation Cartels

9 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2005

See all articles by Jonathan H. Adler

Jonathan H. Adler

Case Western Reserve University School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center


The alleged purpose of antitrust law is to improve consumer welfare by proscribing actions and arrangements that reduce output and increase prices. Conservation seeks to improve human welfare by maximizing the long-term productive use of natural resources, a goal that often requires limiting consumption to sustainable levels. While conservation measures might increase prices in the short run, they enhance consumer welfare by increasing long-term production and ensuring the availability of valued resources over time. That is true whether the restrictions are imposed by a private conservation cartel or a government agency. Insofar as antitrust law fails to take this into account, it bars the creation and evolution of ecologically valuable and socially beneficial arrangements among resource users.

Keywords: antitrust, competition policy, environment, environment protection, marine commons, commons, collusion, property rights, tragedy of the commons, antitrust law

JEL Classification: D45, D23, K23, L40, Q22

Suggested Citation

Adler, Jonathan H., Conservation Cartels. Available at SSRN:

Jonathan H. Adler (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )

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PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

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