Non-exclusive resources and rights of exclusion: Private property rights in practice

Hannes H. Gissurarson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Certain scarce resources seem indivisible, unlike, e.g., land and cattle. But some such resources can be, and have been, turned into private property. In offshore fishing grounds, individual tranferable quotas have been issued to fishing firms that have, as a result, become custodians of fish stocks in those grounds. In the eel fishery on the Danish coast owners of farms by the coast had traditional rights to lay eeltraps leasing those rights out to professional fishermen. In the 1920‘s in the U.S., individual firms were gradually being granted, by court decision, exclusive broadcasting rights in a certain area and on a certain frequency. Grazing rights in Iceland were, from the beginning, allocated by quotas belonging to individual farmers. Fishing rights in Icelandic salmon rivers were also alocated by tradition to individual farmers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-132
Number of pages16
JournalJournal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Other keywords

  • Broadcasting
  • Commons
  • Fisheries
  • Property rights


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