The Theory and Practice of Environmental Property
Economy & Politics
Michael Cox is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College. He has a PhD in Public Affairs from Indiana University, where he studied under Elinor Ostrom.
expected January 2024
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How do we – and how should we – engage with the natural environment through the concepts of rights and responsibilities? In this book, Michael Cox develops the theory and practice of environmental property rights, moving beyond simplistic assumptions that do not reflect the diversity of arrangements we see in the world. To do this, he examines four questions that any environmental property regime must answer: who has rights, how are they allocated, what does a right enable an actor to do, and with what results?
The framework for the book is based on the distinction between community and society, or the personal versus impersonal ways in which we engage with each other and the natural environment. Cox argues that other dimensions roughly follow from this distinction, including informal versus formal, political versus technical, intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation, and essentialist versus relational types of thinking. Each of these dimensions are considered before examining and comparing a wide range of case studies of environmental rights.
Part I Collective action and groups
1. The tragedy of the commons
3. Kinship, reciprocity and intrinsic value
Part II Bundles of rights
4. Control and use rights
5. Exchange rights
Part III: Property regimes and policy panaceas
6. Policy panaceas
7. Individual and common property
8. States and hybrid regimes
9. Market policies
Appendix 1: Ostrom's design principles