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Common Property Theory

  • By: Bob Pokrant
  • In: Green Politics: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Environmental Sociology, Environmental Technology, Policy & Management, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

Common property theory (CPT) refers to a body of cross-disciplinary literature that deals with the historical and contemporary institutional governance and management of valued resources ranging from fisheries and forests to atmospheric sinks, oceans, and genetic materials. CPT was originally developed to understand the problems of managing what are termed common-pool resources. Common-pool resources are valued resources that all can use (principle of the difficulty of exclusion of users) and for which one person's use reduces what is available to others (principle of subtractability or rivalry), thus running the risk of overuse and degradation.

Interest and debate on the special characteristics of common-pool resources and the problems of their management are found throughout history. However, such resources have taken on contemporary significance as a result of ...

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