From "Tragedy" to "Disaster": Welfare Effects of Commons and Anticommons Dilemmas

  • Author(s): Sven Vanneste, Alain Van Hiel, Francesco Parisi, Ben Depoorter
  • Date Posted: 2004
  • Law & Economics #: 04-23
  • Availability: Full text (most recent) on SSRN


Recently, a new concept, the anticommons dilemma, has been introduced in economic literature. In an anticommons property regime, multiple co-owners have the right to exclude one another from benefiting from a common resource. The economic literature has unveiled symmetry between commons and anticommons problems. Our experimental results reveal an interesting asymmetry. Anticommons situations generate greater opportunistic behavior than an equivalent commons dilemma (Study 1), and anticommons dilemmas yield a greater risk for underuse compared to commons dilemmas (Study 2). It was therefore concluded that anticommons might be considered as having even more severe and problematic consequences than the commons dilemma.