Para resolver o problema da tragédia dos comuns, Pigou e Coase mostraram que é melhor definir direitos de propriedade e permitir trocas do que alocar recursos com a técnica de governo conhecida por comando-e-controle, como escreve Robert Stavins, na edição de 100 anos da American Economic Review:
"First, economic theory—by focusing on market failures linked with incomplete systems of property rights—has made major contributions to our understanding of commons problems and the development of prudent public policies. Second, as our understanding of the commons has become more complex, the design of economic policy instruments has become more sophisticated, enabling policy makers to address problems that are characterized by uncertainty, spatial and temporal heterogeneity, and long duration. Third, government policies that have not accounted for economic responses have been excessively costly, often ineffective, and sometimes counterproductive."
O problema é que parece que o público nos EUA prefere comando-e-controle para resolver problemas ambientais. A The Economist explica:
"The darkly ironic side of all this, of course, is that administrative command-and-control solutions like detailed EPA emissions rules are definitely more expensive than cap-and-trade or carbon taxes would be. If anything, when the public votes for EPA regulation rather than cap-and-trade, that's when it's imposing a tax on itself. Fifty years after Coase and 90 after Pigou, the economists are pretty sure they've finally got the solution for fixing commons problems without diminishing social value, only to have the public reject it because they think that's the tax. If the tragedy of the commons is "Romeo and Juliet", the rejection of Coasian cap-and-trade solutions to commons problems is " Blood Simple": a hilariously bitter demonstration of the human capacity for selfish stupidity that ends with the only guy who's figured it all out getting shot through a door by the wrong person for the wrong reasons."