Title: Environmental illusion in the depletion of common property resources

Authors: Karl Steininger

Addresses: Department of Economics, University of Graz, Austria

Abstract: Energy use is characterized by the commons situation with respect to exhaustion of finite resources, the depletion rate decision for renewable resources and the generation of pollution. Each of these can be either collectively managed by norms or institutional rules (|common property|) or users can remain uncoordinated (|open access|). This article analyses the former, common property, in a dynamic context. It suggests that even though cooperation prevails, the use rate generally is not optimal, but rather converges to the socially optimal one - in an often slow and time-consuming process. Technical change especially exerts continuous pressure on institutional and normative reform. Key concepts of psychology, sociology and anthropology motivate a change of the basic economic model: individuals not only choose goods but also how to process information - in particular with a bias, so that they feel good about themselves. The implications for common property resource use are analysed and conclusions are drawn for the local and global context.

Keywords: collective management; common property resources; energy policy; global commons; over-depletion.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGEI.1993.063633

International Journal of Global Energy Issues, 1993 Vol.5 No.2/3/4, pp.66-75

Published online: 17 Jul 2014 *

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