The Decline in Common Lands in Bulgaria in the Early 20th Century
Working Paper No. 2004-10. 20 pages.
Bulgaria has a long history of successful management of common property resources (especially forests and grazing land). The last decades of the 19th century and early decades of the 20th witnessed a breakdown in the institutions and cultures which supported this success, however. In this paper, we draw on interview data from four Bulgarian villages and available published statistical and other sources to develop a preliminary explanation of the institutions which supported the sustainable collective management, and the factors which undermined these institutions. These factors include changing agents’ preferences, norms and the payoffs to various actions. We look at the impact of factors including increasing population pressure on land, state appropriation of village land, new possibilities for out-migration and market production, and rising social inequalities in producing these changes.