de Janvry and Sadoulet
Management of Common Property Resources
and Determinants of Cooperation
Revised November 10, 2010
I. Why are there common property resources?
Property rights are defined in terms of five cumulative rights:
Transfer or alienation (sale).
For these rights to matter, they have to be enforced. Open access resources offer users
only two rights: access and extraction. Common Property Resources (CPR) give
community members the rights of access, extraction, management, and exclusion. Under
CPR, the services of a resource such as fishing, grazing of animals, and the extraction of
firewood or lumber from a forest are (1) excludable collectively (non-members are
excluded, but members cannot be excluded), and (2) rival in use. CPR can thus be
compared to private and open access resources in that they are rival; and they can be
compared to club goods in that they are collectively excludable (Figure 1).
Definition of types of goods
Take home messages for Chapter 15
1. Common Property Resources (CPR) yield products or services that are rival in use and collectively
excludable in access. They can suffer from over-extraction from the resource and under-provision of
maintenance services if there is no effective cooperation in management among members. Effective
cooperation in management is necessary to avoid the “tragedy of the commons” that characterizes
open access resources.
2. Several potential advantages compensate for the risks of over-extraction and under-provision:
economies of scale, geographical risk spreading, avoidance of costs and risks of division, and
preservation of community relations.
3. Pessimism in effective management is conceptualized in the Prisoner’s Dilemma where non-
cooperation is the dominant strategy.
4. Optimism is derived from observing that many communities make effective use of CPR. Without
formal cooperation, this is explained by the Chicken Game, the Assurance Game, and repeated games
such as the Folk Theorem and Tit-for-Tat.
5. Successful formal cooperation requires the definition and enforcement of rules that codify
extraction from the resource and provision of services by individual members. Five conditions are
necessary for successful cooperation: (1) Well defined property rights and group membership, (2)
positive expected gains from cooperation, (3) capacity to observe and monitor the behavior of others,
(4) capacity to enforce rules, and (5) time to learn to cooperate.