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The Unsuccessful Privatization of Common Property in Spain: Forests and Pastures (A Law and Economics Perspective: The Galicia Case)

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Galilea, Pedro
Conference: Crossing Boundaries, the Seventh Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Conf. Date: June 10-14
Date: 1998
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2106
Sector: Forestry
Region: Europe
Subject(s): IASC
forest management
mountain regions
agricultural expansion
Abstract: "In our paper we will analyse the process of the individualisation of common ownership (forests used mainly for agricultural and grazing purposes) in Galicia, Northern Spain, as a reaction by farmers to Government and legal aggressions. It took a long time to obtain this result, as a consequence of the fierce opposition on the part of farmers to earlier attempts to privatise the resources. "However, we will show how the process of individualisation of property was in the end, paradoxically, the only means of defending common ownership and a new effort to intensify Galicia agriculture, above all in the first third of the twentieth century, before the traumatic upheaval caused by the Civil War. "We will start our presentation by explaining the conceptual framework we use in our paper, taken from the New Institutional Economics and the Law and Economics approach. From this perspective, we will explain the structure of mountains property in Spain in the nineteenth century. We analyse the reforms proposed by legislators (inspired by the neoclassical economic doctrines) and the opposition they met from the users of the resources. "This allows us to show the great divide between legal reforms and practice. Next, we will see the evolution of institutions and several attempts at change on the part of the central legislator. But finally, we will see how the peasants' opposition to privatisation turned into a movement in its favour. Ironically, this happened in a much more socialistic context, without State support for these changes."

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