Abstract: Economists generally agree that more complete property rights lead to higher incomes, but rights are often constrained by other political and social goals. American…
Lone Mountain Fellow
Bryan Leonard is an assistant professor of environmental and natural resource economics in the School of Sustainability and a faculty affiliate in the Economics Department and the Center for Behavior, Institutions, and the Environment at Arizona State University. He is also a 2017 and 2018 PERC Lone Mountain Fellow. His research focuses on the design of institutions to resolve collective action problems associated with natural resource and environmental management. His research strives to better understand the conditions under which the creation of formal property rights leads to net efficiency gains by reducing rent dissipation, with focus on several factors that can impair the benefits of assigning formal property rights including i) mismatch between the spatial scale and distribution of property rights and unanticipated resources; ii) pre-existing informal institutions that may be disrupted by formal rights; and iii) incomplete or constrained property rights that are created when alternative policy goals and political factors trade off with economic efficiency. Dr. Leonard studies these potential pitfalls and how to avoid them using a combination of theoretical and GIS-based empirical work to provide a richer understanding of the evolution and performance of different institutional responses to natural resource and environmental problems, with emphasis on coordination and collective action for managing natural resources.