By Karol B. Zdybel, University of Hamburg
The concept of anticommons has been gaining researchers’ interest over the past 25 years. Although it is not fully novel and occasionally repeats otherwise known theses, it introduces a both simple and useful conceptual framework for thinking about legal institutions. Thanks to this, the theory of anticommons elegantly deepens our understanding of such phenomena as patents, property, antitrust policy, or bureaucracy.
This chapter offers a very concise introduction to the concept of anticommons. It begins with the theoretical foundations, proceeds to a simple diagrammatical exposition, and finally points to several applications. In addition, the chapter suggests that the conceptual grid for analyzing anticommons was available already in the early days of the Austrian school of economics.