Abstract for: Teaching the tragedy of open access: a classroom exercise on governing the commons

This paper addresses a prominent misconception in environmental economics and environmental studies concerning the ‘tragedy of the commons’ and sustainable management of common-pool resources. The open-commons dilemma prevents many students and instructors from realising the important role of common property regimes in sustainably managing resources. And, recognising the important role simulations play in enhancing student comprehension and retention of complex material, this paper outlines a unique way for students to participate in the development of common property relationships through the use of the online simulation Fishbanks. This activity has been highly successful when conducted in my classes, and students have responded to the exercise with enthusiasm.