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Increasing populations of big game in France, including wild boar, has resulted in an increase in collective damages. However, this species is not only regarded as harmful as it is valued by the practice of hunting. The article aims to characterize the social optimum by engaging natural resource economics. The optimum density of game populations is defined from a bio-economic model that takes into account all the costs and profits relating to hunting and the presence of game. It is compared to that corresponding to the hunters’ optimum and to the “tragedy of the commons”. The analytical framework allows an economic interpretation of the evolution of hunting in France and of the institutional and legislative context, while focusing on issues of property rights and externalities. The model developed is then used to discuss game management policies and recommendations on economic tools for these policies.


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