Categoria: wp2000

Private Property Rights to Wildlife: The Southern African Experiment

Kay Muir-Leresche and Robert H. Nelson†

Abstract: In most nations around the world wildlife are owned and managed by the State. However, in the past 30 years Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa have altered their legal regimes to give full control over the use of wildlife to the private owners of the land on which the wildlife are located. Following the privatization of wildlife management in southern African nations, wildlife tourism on private lands has boomed. In Zimbabwe, a majority of many desirable species – including 94 percent of eland, 64 percent of kudu, 63 percent of giraffe, 56 percent of cheetah, and 53 percent of both sable and impala — are found on commercial ranch properties. In Namibia, wildlife populations on private lands have risen by 80 percent since the creation in 1967 of a regime of private wildlife ownership.

Privatization of control over use of wildlife has had more success in promoting biodiversity in the southern African region than any other
policy measure. Other parts of the world may be able to benefit from the lessons learned from the successes of southern African nations in privatization and commercialization of wildlife. Based on the southern African experience, many wildlife managers should reconsider whether positive incentives might not be more effective in the future in promoting wildlife populations than the past club of state commands and controls.


Professor of Economics
Texas A&M University, College Station, and
Imadec University, Vienna
Senior Fellow
International Centre for Economic Research
Torino, Italy

ABSTRACT: Institutional restructuring in West Germany and Eastern Europe is a consequence of the failure of two major socialist experiments, National Socialism and Marxism-Leninism. The paper addresses a number of issues
such as: Why was the transition of West Germany in the 1950s more successful than the institutional restructuring of Eastern Europe in the 1990s? Why are the results of institutional changes within the former Soviet
Bloc different from one country to another? Why do we observe no tendency in former Marxist-Leninist states for more efficient institutions to replace less efficient ones?

Frank Knight and Original Sin

Frank Knight was the key person in founding the Chicago school of economics. In this respect he was a seminal figure in the history of twentieth century economics. Yet, few current economists know much about Knight. After his early success in 1921 with Risk, Uncertainty and Profit – Knight’s work best known to current economists — he wrote more in the manner of a moral philosopher than an economic scientist.

This paper examines the thinking of the later Knight, the approach to social analysis that he adopted for most of career and including all of his years in the Chicago economics department. Knight was known for his antagonism to traditional Christian religion. Yet, penetrating only slightly below the surface, his thinking is revealed to follow closely in a Christian mode. Indeed, Knight’s moral philosophy was a secular form of Calvinism.


In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, California agriculture underwent a
fundamental transformation as the state’s farmers shifted from the production of wheat to a rich
variety of tree, vine, and row crops.

This transformation required a wholesale shift in the
production processes, with new farming practices, new labor systems, and new marketing
structures. But success also required new legal, scientific, and institutional structures to
overcome the serious threat that diseases and pests posed to the state’s new intensive fruit and
nut culture.

This paper examines a number of case studies, showing how specific pests and
diseases nearly destroyed commercial production of grapes, and several tree crops and how
farmers responded to these threats.

One response was to demand government help to overcome
the free rider problem and other sources of market failure. The result was to strengthen the
scientific infrastructure within the University of California and the USDA and to enact
quarantine legislation to limit the free movement of plants and fruit. We argue that these
instances the private and social returns to collective actions far exceeded the costs.