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An Equilibrium Conflict Model of Land Tenure in Hunter-Gatherer Societies

Matthew Baker ()

Journal of Political Economy, 2003, vol. 111, issue 1, 124-173

Abstract: I apply features of the economics of conflict and spatial competition in developing a model of the emergence of land ownership in hunter-gatherer societies. Tenure regimes are the result of interactions between those seeking to defend claims to land and those seeking to infringe on those claims. The model highlights the dependence of land ownership on ecological parameters, such as resource density and predictability, and allows for situational ownership, in which the nature of ownership changes as realized ecological conditions change. The paper concludes with a comparative assessment of tenure across a representative sample of hunter-gatherer peoples.

Date: 2003
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