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The Success of American Communes

Clifford F. Thies
Southern Economic Journal
Vol. 67, No. 1 (Jul., 2000), pp. 186-199
DOI: 10.2307/1061620
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1061620
Page Count: 14
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The Success of American Communes
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Abstract

This study analyzes the effect of the structure of communes on their success, using the data of 281 communes started in America from 1683 to 1937. Factors increasing the likelihood of success include (i) being a pietist religious sect, (ii) inducing commitment as measured by an index of several underlying variables, (iii) allowing some private property, and (iv) with some qualification, having anarchic governance. These results support the prevailing commitment hypothesis. They additionally indicate that communes can increase their likelihood of success by making some concessions to egoistic concerns.

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