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Tensions Between the Resource Damage and the Private Benefits of Appropriation in the Commons

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  • Esther Blanco

    ()

  • Maria Claudia Lopez

    ()

  • James M. Walker

    ()

Abstract

This study examines appropriation decisions in a linear appropriation game setting with variations in the resource damage from appropriation and simultaneous variations in the resource damage and the opportunity cost of conservation, where the ratio of these two variables is held constant. In symmetric and asymmetric group contexts, subjects make decisions without feedback from a menu of seven decision situations. In summary, individual appropriation levels are found to be inversely correlated with the ratio of marginal resource damage from appropriation to the marginal private benefit of appropriation and no significant differences are observed in individual appropriation levels across treatments where this ratio is equal. Moreover, among subjects facing the same marginal incentives, no significant differences are found between decisions of subjects in symmetric and asymmetric groups. Finally, using forecasts of others’ appropriation decisions; we find evidence of both a direct effect from changes in marginal monetary incentives and an indirect effect associated with changes in subjects’ first order beliefs of the appropriation decisions of others. These findings are consistent with previous evidence for public goods games supporting the relevance of the marginal per-capita return and conditional reciprocity in explaining variations in cooperation levels.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck in its series Working Papers with number 2013-02.

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Length: 39
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:inn:wpaper:2013-02

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Keywords: common pool resources; asymmetry; resource damage; private benefits; laboratory experiments;

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  1. Anderies, John M. & Janssen, Marco A. & Bousquet, François & Cardenas, Juan-Camilo & Castillo, Daniel & Lopez, Maria-Claudio & Tobias, Robert & Vollan, Björn & Wutich, Amber, 2011. "The challenge of understanding decisions in experimental studies of common pool resource governance," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(9), pages 1571-1579, July.
  2. J. Ledyard, 1997. "Public Goods: A Survey of Experimental Research," Levine's Working Paper Archive 509, David K. Levine.
  3. R. M Isaac & J. Walker & A. Williams, 2010. "Group Size and the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods: Experimental Evidence Utilizing Very Large Groups," Levine's Working Paper Archive 11, David K. Levine.
  4. Urs Fischbacher & Sabrina Teyssier & Simeon Schudy, 2012. "Heterogeneous Reactions to Heterogeneity in Returns from Public Goods," TWI Research Paper Series 73, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
  5. Bagnoli, Mark & McKee, Michael, 1991. "Voluntary Contribution Games: Efficient Private Provision of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 351-66, April.
  6. Isaac, R. Mark & Walker, James M. & Williams, Arlington W., 1994. "Group size and the voluntary provision of public goods : Experimental evidence utilizing large groups," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-36, May.
  7. Kenneth S. Chan & Stuart Mestelman & Rob Moir & R. Andrew Muller, 1998. "Heterogeneity and the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Department of Economics Working Papers 1998-04, McMaster University.
  8. Agrawal, Arun, 2001. "Common Property Institutions and Sustainable Governance of Resources," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(10), pages 1649-1672, October.
  9. Brandts, Jordi & Schram, Arthur, 2001. "Cooperation and noise in public goods experiments: applying the contribution function approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 399-427, February.
  10. 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.
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