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Common Rules: the regulation of institutions for collective action 1100-1800

Project: Non-funded ProjectProjects


Focusing on common land in western Europe, this project aims to understand how efficient and effective regulation can be developed, executed by well-functioning institutions. Commons are a type of institution for collective action which existed in the European countryside for centuries, to regulate the collective use of natural resources (grassland, woodland, water) for large parts of the rural population. Although the Western European commons largely disappeared during the nineteenth century, commons are still omnipresent in many developing countries and survive in many parts of Europe today. The project concentrates on the historical regulation of commons in Western and Southern Europe, examining the internal structure and changes of rules on various commons, in relation to a number of independent variables such as population growth, changing land use (e.g. the balance between arable and waste land), climate, etc.

The project is a collaboration between scholars in the universities of Utrecht (Netherlands), Lancaster (UK) and Navarra (Spain).