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A field study on cooperativeness and impatience in the Tragedy of the Commons

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  • Fehr, Ernst
  • Leibbrandt, Andreas

Abstract

This paper examines the role of cooperativeness and impatience in the exploitation of common pool resources (CPRs) by combining laboratory experiments with field data. We study fishermen whose main, and often only, source of income stems from the use of fishing grounds with open access. The exploitation of a CPR involves a negative interpersonal and inter-temporal externality because individuals who exploit the CPR reduce the current and the future yield both for others and for themselves. Economic theory – which assumes the existence of general across-situational traits – thus predicts that fishermen who exhibit more cooperative and less impatient behavior in the laboratory should be less likely to exploit the CPR, which our findings confirm. We thus corroborate the economic theory and extend the scope of other-regarding preference theories to crucial economic decisions with lasting consequences for the people involved. In addition, we establish cooperativeness and impatience as two distinct traits related to resource conservation in the field and validate laboratory preference measures.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 95 (2011)
Issue (Month): 9 ()
Pages: 1144-1155

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:9:p:1144-1155

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

Related research

Keywords: Cooperation; Common pool resource; Experiments; Generalizability; Impatience; Methodology;

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Cited by:
  1. Michael Pröpper & Bjørn Vollan, 2013. "Beyond Awareness and Self-Governance: Approaching Kavango Timber Users’ Real-Life Choices," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(3), pages 392-418, July.
  2. Florian Englmaier & Georg Gebhardt, 2011. "Free-Riding in the Lab and in the Field," CESifo Working Paper Series 3612, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Kocher, Martin G. & Martinsson, Peter & Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. & Wollbrant, Conny, 2012. "Strong, Bold, and Kind: Self-Control and Cooperation in Social Dilemmas," Working Papers in Economics 523, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 02 Apr 2013.
  4. Hopfensitz, Astrid & Miquel-Florensa, Josepa, 2014. "Investigating social capital in Colombia: Conflict and public good contributions," TSE Working Papers 14-463, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  5. Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. & Riener, Gerhard & Wollbrant, Conny, 2013. "Tangible Temptation in the Social Dilemma: Cash, cooperation, and self-control," Working Papers in Economics 567, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  6. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polania-Reyes, 2011. "Economic incentives and social preferences: substitutes or complements?," Department of Economics University of Siena 617, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  7. Vollan, Björn & Prediger, Sebastian & Frölich, Markus, 2013. "Co-managing common-pool resources: Do formal rules have to be adapted to traditional ecological norms?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 51-62.
  8. Cavalcanti, Carina & Engel, Stefanie & Leibbrandt, Andreas, 2013. "Social integration, participation, and community resource management," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 262-276.
  9. Reuben, Ernesto & Wiswall, Matthew & Zafar, Basit, 2013. "Preferences and Biases in Educational Choices and Labor Market Expectations: Shrinking the Black Box of Gender," IZA Discussion Papers 7579, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Pablo Branas-Garza & Jaromir Kovarik & Levent Neyse, 2013. "Second-to-Fourth Digit Ratio has a Non-Monotonic Impact on Altruism," Working Papers 13-09, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  11. Abigail Barr & Truman Packard & Danila Serra, 2013. "Participatory Accountability and Collective Action: Experimental Evidence from Albania," Discussion Papers 2013-08, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  12. Yann Girard & Florian Hett, 2013. "Competitiveness in dynamic group contests: Evidence from combined field and lab data," Working Papers 1303, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, revised 01 Apr 2013.
  13. Andreas Leibbrandt, 2012. "Are social preferences related to market performance?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 589-603, December.
  14. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polania-Reyes, 2012. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: Substitutes or Complements?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(2), pages 368-425, June.
  15. Giuseppe Albanese & Guido de Blasio & Paolo Sestito, 2013. "Trust and preferences: evidence from survey data," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 911, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

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