Monday, July 07, 2008

Why does a Coasian bargain not work here?

The last few days I have been staying at the dorms in the premier management school of the country. In addition to being an outsider in the very personal social structure of this campus, I have been facing problems due to simple externalities. A girl next door likes to play very loud music beginning midnight going on until 2am or 3am. In addition, this campus (like several campuses across India) comes alive only at night, i.e., group meetings and socializations happen mostly in the middle of the night, which is in itself surprising cause classes start at 845am at least for the first years. So, at the time when the rest of the world goes to sleep, these dorms are abuzz with activity. Actually abuzz with activity is an understatement as citizens of this closed community are prone to random loud group chants and blood curdling yells (I am not exaggerating) in the middle of the night. These are also externalities; however let me go back to my initial point about the loud music in the middle of the night. As individuals have single rooms and pay for them, I am guessing private property exists. No amount of requesting and complaining seems to mitigate the problem of loud music in the middle of the night. My very humble request was met with a rude “The music will be on for another couple of hours until I am up”, and the girl walked away. How do you approach anything like a Coasian bargain in this situation? What rewards can I offer in return for some quiet in the nights? Right now in sheer frustration I am forced to judge this person as being deficient in some basic manners and etiquette. There must be an economic solution to this situation besides legal enforcement (not that I have much to go in the way of legal recourse). I have been sleep deprived ever since I got here and do not think I can go any longer and be my usual productive self.

1 comment:

Arnold said...

But what exactly are the property rights here? Does paying for the room allow her to play music at any volume at any time of the night? I think a Coasian bargain would work here. It just depends on whether her desire to play music is greater or less than your frustration of listening to it. As for what to bargain with -- money?