Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Cornhusker Economics.


Used by permission.


Background: Common property resources (CPR) are defined as resources where one person’s use affects what is available to others (either now or in the future). One example of a CPR is a shared aquifer, where multiple users have access to the groundwater. Economic researchers have shown that with a CPR, there are economic benefits to regulating the use of the resource, and that well-designed regulation increases the sustainability of agricultural-based economies that rely on CPRs. Many such regulations exist, and examples include allocation limits in some of Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts and Kansas’s Groundwater Management Districts, as well as groundwater fees in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. However, there are a number of reasons that CPR users may not support regulation. These reasons include the associated short-term cost, financial constraints, a lack of trust that there will be long -term benefits, and time stress that prevents them from carefully considering all outcomes.