Tilman Hartley - energy and ownership

I research how societies change when energy systems change, with the aim of better understanding what a society without fossil fuels will look like. I examine previous changes in energy resources and ownership institutions to see what we can learn about the way they interact. We know, for example, that foragers have evolved a simple instinct to maintain their possession of resources, but that hunter-gatherers generally adopt communal ownership systems and share resources fairly equally; we also know that agriculturalists typically live under hierarchical 'command' ownership institutions, whereas legally defined 'titled property' has become widespread in societies that run on fossil fuels. So why do these different ownership institutions survive to govern different kinds of energy resources? And what do these past transitions tell us about what might happen after the next transition, away from fossil fuels?

Working papers

Why do ownership institutions change when energy systems change? [PDF]

A working paper, in which I construct an evolutionary model of how the characteristics of different energy resources affect agent behaviours and result in different ownership institutions. Versions presented in 2016 at the WINIR conference in Boston, the WINIR symposium on property rights in Bristol, and the PSA Politics of Property workshop at Nottingham University, and in 2015 at Harvard.

Ownership, technology, resource depletion: what comes first? [PDF]

A fairly rough working paper looking at the current research on the order of events during 'grand' energy transitions. Versions presented in 2015 at the ECPR conference in Montreal and the Economic History Lunch at Harvard.

External costs, common pools, and public goods [PDF]

A paper reviewing the modern legal theory of property, and using that theory to relate the well known property rights theories of Ronald Coase, Elinor Ostrom, and Paul Samuelson in interesting ways. Versions presented in 2015 at the PSA Politics of Property workshop at Nottingham University, the PSA general conference in Sheffield, the New Directions in IPE conference at Warwick University, the BISA conference in Dublin, and in 2014 at the ECPR conference in Innsbruck and the Aberystwyth-Lancaster Graduate Colloquium in Warwick.

Agent based models

An agent based model of the Demander-Resister-Sharer game [HTML]

A simple agent based model, building on the evolutionary model in the 'why do ownership institutions change?' working paper above. The page may take a few seconds to open. A work in progress; mostly, I occasionally use it to illustrate certain effects that are hard to explain verbally during discussions.


Curriculum Vitae [PDF]