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Collective Action with Incomplete Commitment: Experimental Evidence

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Author Info

  • Pamela Schmitt
  • Kurtis Swope
  • James Walker

Abstract

Face-to-face communication is investigated as an efficiency-enhancing mechanism in experimental common-pool resource environments in which the appropriation activities of outside appropriators create coordination and monitoring problems for the communicating group. We identify three distinct problems that can threaten successful collective action. Outsiders respond strategically to reductions in appropriation by cooperating group members. Members of the communicating group deviate from agreements more frequently when monitoring is imperfect and over appropriation can be blamed on outsiders. Groups that are allowed to communicate anticipate the potential problems and have difficulty reaching agreements or committing to a specific appropriation rule.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 66 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 829-854

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:66:4:y:2000:p:829-854

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Web page: http://www.southerneconomic.org/
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Cited by:
  1. Juan Camilo Cardenas & Jeffrey Carpenter, 2003. "Pro-social Behavior in the Global Commons: A North-South Experiment," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 03-29, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  2. Schnier, Kurt Erik, 2009. "Spatial externalities and the common-pool resource mechanism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 402-415, May.
  3. Schnier, Kurt E. & Anderson, Christopher M., 2006. "Decision making in patchy resource environments: Spatial misperception of bioeconomic models," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 234-254, October.
  4. Stuart Mestelman, 2000. "Environmental Policy: Lessons from the Laboratory," McMaster Experimental Economics Laboratory Publications 2000-01, McMaster University.
  5. Ostrom, Elinor, 2006. "The value-added of laboratory experiments for the study of institutions and common-pool resources," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 149-163, October.
  6. Nicolas Faysse, 2005. "Coping With The Tragedy Of The Commons: Game Structure And Design Of Rules," Post-Print cirad-01002167, HAL.
  7. Juan-Camilo Cardenas, 2002. "Real wealth and experimental cooperation: Evidence from field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00019, The Field Experiments Website.
  8. Villena, Mauricio G. & Zecchetto, Franco, 2010. "Subject-specific Performance Information can worsen the Tragedy of the Commons: Experimental Evidence," MPRA Paper 27783, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 02 Dec 2010.

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