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Contagious Cooperation, Temptation, and Ecosystem Collapse

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  • Andries Richter

    (Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), University of Oslo, Norway, and Department of Mathematical Statistical Methods, Wageningen University, the Netherlands)

  • Daan van Soest

    (Department of Spatial Economics and IVM, VU University Amsterdam, Department of Economics, Tilburg University, the Netherlands)

  • Johan Grasman

    (Department of Mathematical and Statistical Methods, Wageningen University, the Netherlands)

Abstract

Real world observations suggest that social norms of cooperation can be effective in overcoming social dilemmas such as the joint management of a common pool resource – but also that they can be subject to slow erosion and sudden collapse. We show that these patterns of erosion and collapse emerge endogenously in a model of a closed community harvesting a renewable natural resource in which individual agents face the temptation to overexploit the resource, while a cooperative harvesting norm spreads through the community via interpersonal relations. We analyze under what circumstances small changes in key parameters (including the size of the community, and the rate of technological progress) trigger catastrophic transitions from relatively high levels of cooperation to widespread norm violation – causing the social-ecological system to collapse.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2013.36.

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Date of creation: Apr 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2013.36

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Keywords: Social Norms; Common Pool Resource; Co-Evolution; Resilience; Alternative Stable States;

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Cited by:
  1. Ajayi, J. O., 2014. "Awareness of Climate Change and Implications for Attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) in Niger Delta Region of Nigeria," AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Economics and Management, vol. 6(1), March.
  2. Richter, Andries & Grasman, Johan, 2013. "The transmission of sustainable harvesting norms when agents are conditionally cooperative," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 202-209.
  3. Andries Richter & Johan Grasman, 2013. "The Transmission of Sustainable Harvesting Norms When Agents Are Conditionally Cooperative," Working Papers 2013.80, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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