Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 1–17 | Cite as

The commons, common property, and environmental policy

  • Daniel W. Bromley


The conceptual confusion among property, common property, open access resources, and the “tragedy of the commons” is identified and rectified. Property rights are defined and clarified. From that it is possible to understand the traditional confusion between open access resources and common property resources. It is urged that common property regimes be used in place of common property resources. This will emphasize that institutional arrangements are human creations and that natural resources can be managed as private property, as common property, or as state property. It is the property regime — an authority system — that indicates the rules of use of a variety of natural resources.

Key words

Commons common property property rights 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel W. Bromley
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Environmental StudiesUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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