in: International Journal of the Commons (14/1), 1-15
A fundamental problem in governing natural resources is how to design institutions, particularly property rights regimes, that support sustainable use and management of common property resources. Privatization of natural resources was a widespread solution to the “tragedy of the commons” during the 1980s and 1990s. But many such efforts failed to achieve sustainable use of resources, and policymakers are now experimenting with new types of policy interventions. We examine recent changes in pastoral institutions and their outcomes regarding resource-use rights and the sustainability of resource use in China and Kyrgyzstan. Interpreting changing property rights as a process of social construction, we examine altered rules and rights relations and the ensuing changes in legal correlates between various actors in selected choice settings. The article contributes to the literature regarding the impacts of such reforms on property rights and their development in pastoral contexts.