Most of the natural resources of land, water, forests and fisheries in India that are used in common by people, i.e. the natural common pool resources (CPRs) suffer from what Hardin called "the tragedy of the commons". One of the reasons of their tragedy is lack of well-defined property rights in them and absence of any mechanisms/systems of coordinating and regulating their use. In this paper, it is argued that creation and enforcement of cooperative property rights in natural CPRs or, in other words, cooperative management of CPRs holds high promise as an instrument of avoiding their tragedy.
But cooperative management is a sort of collective good and according to the well- received theory of collective goods such goods are always under-provided. Deducing from the theory of collective goods and drawing upon five case studies in cooperative management of natural CPRs, the authors examine the roles of leaders in organising CPR users and thereby providing the "collective good", i.e. cooperative management of CPRs.
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