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Some Empirical Evidence on Property Rights of First Peoples

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Anderson, C. Leigh; Swimmer, Eugene
Date: 1995
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3966
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Subject(s): indigenous institutions
property rights
Abstract: "Why did the Western Apache allow individuals to own land, the Tzeltal only permit household ownership, and the Yucatec Maya share access within the community? This paper seeks to test a hypothesis of access rights across indigenous peoples, asserting that the choice of private, shared, or open access rights maximizes the resource's net value, rather than reflecting innate preferences for different property systems. This empirical work contributes to the literature with observations on over 40 early American groups. The cross-sectional study reveals how access rights differed across communities in response to the property's physical characteristics and community characteristics that affected the deadweight, governance, and exclusion costs of establishing and maintaining different access regimes."

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