The commons with capital markets


We explore commons problems when agents have access to capital markets. The commons has a high intrinsic rate of return but its fruits cannot be secured by individual agents. Resources transferred to the capital market earn lower returns, but are secure. In a two period model, we assess the consequences of market access for the commons' survival and welfare; we compare strategic and competitive equilibria. Market access generally speeds extinction, with negative welfare consequences. Against this, it allows intertemporal smoothing, a positive effect. In societies in which the former effect dominates, market liberalisation may be harmful. We reproduce the multiple equilibria found in other models of competitive agents; when agents are strategic, extinction dates are unique. Strategic agents generally earn their surplus by delaying the commons' extinction; in unusual cases, strategic agents behave as competitive ones even when their numbers are small.commons, capital markets, Washington Consensus, property rights

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