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Promise, Trust and EvolutionManaging the Commons of South Asia$
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Rucha Ghate, Narpat Jodha, and Pranab Mukhopadhyay

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199213832

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213832.001.0001

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Common Property Resources: Economic Analytics

Common Property Resources: Economic Analytics

Chapter:
(p.19) 1 Common Property Resources: Economic Analytics
Source:
Promise, Trust and Evolution
Author(s):

Partha Dasgupta (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213832.003.0002

The subject of common property resources (CPRs) has generated enormous academic interest in recent years. Offering an alternative to impersonal markets and coercive states, the communitarian institutions built around CPRs have looked attractive to scholars in the humanities and social sciences. Oddly, economic theory has been missing from almost all discussions on CPRs, making it difficult to judge the status of empirical works, which, in the case of CPRs, have mainly been case studies. This chapter presents a fairly complete economic theory of CPRs. The theory not only identifies circumstances which engender trust and credibility, allowing communitarian institutions to function well, but also shows when those institutions could be expected to unravel. Recent empirical evidence on the fragility of CPRs and viability of privatization in some contexts is cited to display the robustness of the theory. The theory identifies a dark side of communitarian institutions, namely, their capacity to permit one group to exploit another within long-term relationships. The incentives parties may have for carrying out their respective promises are explored.

Keywords:   CPRs, inequality, privatization, trust, credibility, incentives

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