Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Anticommons, Tragedy of the

  • Qianwei YingEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_90


The tragedy of the anticommons is a type of coordination breakdown, in which a single resource has numerous owners, each of whom has the right to individually exclude others from its use but no effective privilege of using it independently. This coordination failure, i.e., the exercise of the veto power from any one of the owners will result in the underuse of the resource, frustrating what would be a socially desirable outcome.

The Concept of the Tragedy of the Anticommons

According to the definition by Heller (1998), an anticommons propertyis a scarce resource in which multiple owners have the right to individually exclude others from its use, and no one has an effective privilege of using it independently. The use of anticommons property requires these numerous right holders of a single resource to reach a consensus on the permission. The coordination breakdown of the owners, i.e., the exercise of the veto power from any one of the excluded right holders, will result in...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Business SchoolSichuan UniversityChengduChina