Could institutional reform have saved Easter Island?

  • Dalton T
  • Coats R
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Abstract

This paper extends the Brander and Taylor general-equilibrium model of population and resource management dynamics to a variety of institutional settings. The authors simulate the economic history of Easter Island, modifying the model to examine the impact of market institutions and different property-rights structures. The major finding of the paper is that modification of the economic institutions on Easter Island could have damped the feast-and-famine cycles that plagued its later history.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Common access
  • Consumption rights
  • Easter island
  • Feast-and-famine cycles
  • Population dynamics
  • Private property
  • Property-rights institutions

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Authors

  • Thomas R. Dalton

  • R. Morris Coats

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