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2020 Projects

The Socially Optimal Distribution of Free-Access and Private Property

Casmali Lopez ’23
Major: Undeclared

Casmali Lopez ’23

Major: Undeclared

Faculty Collaborator: Ike Agbanusi, Mathematics & Computer Science

To understand the effective management of commons where total privatization is not feasible or suitable, optimizing social welfare must either be achieved through a market equilibrium or some social planning procedure. An occupational choice framework allows us to model individual choices of occupation and aggregate them to understand resource use in a market context. Individual actors choose between appropriating the commons and assuming the risks and rewards of profit extraction, working as wage labor on privately owned land, or extracting wealth from whatever area of free access is not under private ownership. The framework shows the existence of a market equilibrium where not all land is held as private property or as free-access commons. This equilibrium is then analyzed by using various social welfare functions to determine if it is optimal for the whole population.

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