The Tragedy of the Anticommons: Property in the Transition from Marx to Markets

  title={The Tragedy of the Anticommons: Property in the Transition from Marx to Markets},
  author={Michael A. Heller},
  journal={Law \& Economics},
  • M. Heller
  • Published 1 January 1998
  • Economics
  • Law & Economics
Why are many storefronts in Moscow empty while street kiosks in front are full of goods? This article develops a theory of anticommons property to help explain the puzzle of empty storefronts and full kiosks. Anticommons property can be understood as the mirror image of commons property. By definition, in a commons, multiple owners are each endowed with the privilege to use a given resource, and no one has the right to exclude another. When too many owners have such privileges of use, the… 
The Tragedy of the Anticommons: A Concise Introduction and Lexicon
This article gives a concise introduction to the ‘tragedy of the anticommons.’ The anticommons thesis is simple: when too many people own pieces of one thing, nobody can use it. Usually, private
The Commons and the Anticommons in the Law and Theory of Property
Recent work on the commons and the anticommons is novel and promising. Briefly, a commons is a resource which all have a liberty-right to use, from which no one has a normative power to exclude
A Bargaining Model of the Anticommons
The tragedy of the anticommons is a mirror of the tragedy of the commons. When each of many owners of a single resource needs permission from every one of the others in order to exploit it, that
Avoiding the Tragedy of the Anticommons: Collective Rights Organizations, Patent Pools and the Role of Antitrust
The growing importance of intangible property and the development of new technologies come together with the current trend of covering by intellectual property rights (IPRs) an increasingly broader
The tragedy of the anticommons in government public management and the establishment of the system of “super ministry” in China
  • Gao Jie, Wang Jian-pei
  • Political Science
    2008 International Conference on Management Science and Engineering 15th Annual Conference Proceedings
  • 2008
The tragedy of the anticommons refers to a situation in which when all right holders with exclusion rights to a property exercise such rights, the property will remain underused or idle. When the
Red Tape and Gridlock
  • L. Katz
  • Economics
    Canadian Journal of Law & Jurisprudence
  • 2010
This paper concerns the role of property theory in explaining why so many people around the world control their assets informally, without recourse to the state. According to one influential view,
The anticommons and the environment.
The combination of two tragedies: commons and anticommons tragedies
Under a general constant elasticity of substitution (CES) function, this paper generalizes the substitution of concurrent possession of a property right—from perfect substitutes to partial
Commons, anti-commons, and in-betweens
The idea of anti-commons (re)-introduced by Heller (Harv Law Rev 111(3):621–688, 1998) has led to numerous studies and the concept has been stretched to cover scenarios of different natures including
A Theory of the Regulatory Anticommons
In 1838 Augustin Cournot defined the concept of a “complementary oligopoly,” where two (or more) independently held inputs are required in order to produce a single output. He also showed that


By analogy to the Quaker Oats Big Inch example, one solution to fractionation of Indian lands could be the imposition of property taxes. However, as the Court in Babbitt noted
    See Hodel, 481 U.S. at 71o n.i
      at 733 ("The narrow revisions Congress made to § 207, without benefit of our ruling in Irving, do not warrant a disposition different than the one this Court announced and explained in Irving
        codified as amended at 25 U.S.C. § 22o6 (1984); see also Babbitt v. Youpee, 117 S. Ct