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Distributing the Benefits from the Commons

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Silvestre, Joaquim
Conference: Inequality and the Commons, the Third Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Washington, DC
Conf. Date: September 17-20, 1992
Date: 1993
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/402
Sector: Theory
Subject(s): common pool resources
tragedy of the commons
Abstract: "The common-property literature has often focused on the question of efficiency. Here we consider distributional issues instead. How should the benefits of the commons (say, a fishery) be distributed? We approach the question from the viewpoint of ownership rather than income redistribution. "A first set of issues is the welfare comparison of an initial, inefficient status quo, called the open access solution, and various final, efficient allocations reached by regulation or privatization. We generalize Weitzman's result that fishers become worse off by privatization and we extend the analysis to the welfare of consumers. "Next we ask: What implications does the public ownership of the resource have for the distribution of its benefits? We analyze alternative approaches and propose a distribution rule based on the notion that both fishers and consumers should obtain the same rate of return from their (direct or indirect) contributors towards the fruits of the commons."

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