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Democratic Exploitation of a Non-Replenishable Resource

Burness, H. Stuart and Lewis, Tracy R. (1977) Democratic Exploitation of a Non-Replenishable Resource. Social Science Working Paper, 161. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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In a recent article, Neher (1976) suggests an interesting democratic process for allocating a scarce, renewable natural resource among different generations. The procedure is characterized by a) continuous voting, b) one person--one vote, c) unsophisticated voting, and d) simple majority rule, and determines the length of the optimal exploitation plan in a society of overlapping generations. Allocations resulting from this plan are revealed to be unjust in the "Rawlsian" sense as the selfishness of living voters is reflected in current decisions. We adopt the same procedure to determine the allocation of a nonrenewable resource under democratic exploitation. With continuous democratic voting, plans are continuously revised and resources are forever being consumed at a rate which is a constant proportion of the total resource available. As before, democratic exploitation of the resource is unjust in the Rawlsian sense: succeeding generations are given smaller allocations of the resource.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:Research support from the Energy Research Development Association, Grant No. EX-76-G-03-1305, California Institute of Technology Energy Research Program is gratefully acknowledged. The authors wish to thank James Quirk and Louis Wilde for valuable comments.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA)EX-76-G-03-1305
Caltech Energy Research ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:161
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171025-141717561
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82670
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:25 Oct 2017 21:32
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:57

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