Jonathan Adler on common-pool resources

Knowledge Problem

Lynne Kiesling

Case Western law professor Jonathan Adler (someone to whom I link frequently here) is guest blogging for Megan McArdle at the Atlantic right now, and he’s sharing some valuable insights from his research in environmental and administrative law. His first post lays a foundation by summarizing and analyzing Garrett Hardin’s seminal “tragedy of the commons” work and the important relationship between property rights and the ability and incentive to overuse a common-pool resource. One thing that Jonathan’s analysis incorporates into Hardin’s is a recognition of the public choice/political economy dynamics that affect the incentives and ultimate outcomes in resource policy:

One thing that Hardin overlooked is that the political process often replicates the same economic dynamic that encourages the tragedy of the commons — a dynamic fostered by the ability to capture concentrated benefits while dispersing the costs. Like the herder who has an incentive to put…

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About Jim Rose

Utopia - you are standing in it promotes a classical liberal view of the world and champion the mass flourishing of humanity through capitalism and the rule of law. The origin of the blog is explained in the first blog post at

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