The making of rules by institutions of collective action, such as commons, has been and still is an instrument to promote desired behaviour and to prevent free-riding and other individual actions that might affect the collective interest negatively. In this article, we use the historical markeboeken of four Dutch commons (marken) to study the way in which commoners sought to guarantee the resilience and longevity of the common, by analysing the design of regulations against unauthorized use, the interaction of those rules with internal and external developments, and the effects that various forms of penalty may have had on the behaviour of commoners.
Agricultural History Review