Problem Library

Externalities and Managing a Common Property Resource

Length: 1 Hour or Less

Discipline: Food and Resource Economics

Level: Intermediate (majors and non-majors)

Author: Duke, Joshua

One difficulty in controlling pollution is that individuals and firms acting in their own best interest may produce aggregate behavior that is suboptimal for society. This problem uses externalities produced by four firms in a common property setting to demonstrate the suboptimal result with simple numbers. Then, market and non-market resolutions are investigated. The problem is self-contained and designed for groups of four students.

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