International Advances in Economic Research

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 425–437 | Cite as

A Political Economy Application of the “Tragedy of the Anticommons”: The Greek Government Debt Crisis

  • Ivan Major


The tragedy of the anticommons unfolds when separate social agents—be they private owners of a property who intend to use the property for their own economic benefit or political actors who pursue their political objectives—do not hold effective rights to use their economic or political power for their own purposes without consent of the other players of the economic or political game. I shall discuss the Greek government debt crisis and the Eurozone countries’ policies toward Greece within the analytical framework of the tragedy of the anticommons in this paper. I do not intend to dig deep into the structure and long-term trends of public and private finances in Greece. I shall only show that the successive bail-out programs of the Eurozone countries were doomed to fail because of these countries’ competitive and non-cooperative approach to the Greek financial problems. I shall also show that a coordinating agency, say the IMF, can foster the coordinated outcome only under strict informational conditions.


Tragedy of the anticommons Non-cooperative games Eurozone 


D00 Microeconomic theory F01 Globalization K00 Law and Economics P60 Interdependence Systems Sustainability 



Research in this paper is part of a larger project on “Tragedies of Anticommons in Politics and in Economic Policy” that we jointly conduct with Ronald King (San Diego State University) and with Marian Cosmin (Babes Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca). I am indebted to my colleagues, Ronald King at San Diego State University, and to Cosmin Marian at Babes Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania for their comments on the anticommons model I developed. I am also grateful to the Hungarian National Science Foundation (OTKA, grant no. 104400) for its financial support, and to the organizers and conference participants of the IAES annual conference in Madrid in April, 2014 for their support and useful comments on my paper.


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Copyright information

© International Atlantic Economic Society 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Budapest University of Technology and EconomicsBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Institute of Economics, CERS, HASBudapestHungary

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