Are All Commons Tragedies? The Case of Bison in the Nineteenth Century
By Peter J. Hill
This article appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of The Independent Review

The near extermination of the North American bison is widely viewed as a case of the overuse of an open-access resource—a classic example of the tragedy of the commons. This “tragic” view, however, ignores the rising opportunity cost of grasslands that could support a more commercially viable commodity: cattle.

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