The Unregulated Common Property: The Prisoner's Dilemma Revisited
This chapter analyses the pessimistic view implied by the ‘tragedy of commons’, that uncoordinated human behaviour leads to the destruction of the commons. It identifies the limitations of Ronald Coase’s theory that agents may get involved in voluntary exchanges of their rights to impose externalities on the others. The possibility of spontaneous cooperative behaviour in a strategic framework is examined based on recent developments in non-cooperative game theory. It is argued that many of the problems encountered in unregulated common property are problems of coordination and leadership, thus not adequately represented by the prisoner’s dilemma.
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