When the State Supplies the Commons: Origins, Changes, and Design of Mexico’s Common Property Regime

This paper analyzes Mexico’s state-directed common property system from the point of view of Elinor Ostrom’s design principles, her ideas of levels of institutional choice (constitutional, collective, and operational) and the issue of both origins and changes in institutional supply. The historical evolution of common property institutions, with special reference to forest management communities suggests that the Mexican case requires an extension of common property design principles to take into account that local rule-making and a national regulatory apparatus can be optimally combined and that markets can be an important factor in success on the commons.