Frontier Violence: Property Rights, Commons Management Costs and Distributive Conflict

Jean Daudelin (Carleton University)

Abstract: Distributive conflict takes place in spaces where competition for assets makes economic, political, and/or strategic sense, where no overarching authority defines and enforces a given allocation of those assets, and where commons management costs are too high for competitors to reach agreements on their own. Based on the work of Alston, Libecap and Mueller on property rights and conflict on the Amazon land frontier, the framework proposed here tries to address the limitations of existing theories of distributive conflict, which contemplate either conflict in the absence of property rights, or trace distributive conflict to the inadequacies of that provision, but not both at the same time.

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