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Public disclosure of players’ conduct and Common Resources Harvesting: Experimental Evidence from a Nairobi Slum

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Abstract

We evaluate the effect of information disclosure on players’ behaviour in a multiperiod common pool resource game experiment run in an area of notably scarce social capital such as the Nairobi slum of Kibera. We document divergence of average withdrawal rates across time with an increasingly lower cooperation in the non anonimous setting. We demonstrate that information induced asymmetric conformity contributes to explain what we observe, that is, players who withdraw less than the average of the group in the previous round react more negatively when individual payoffs are disclosed than when they are not, and their reaction is less than compensated by the mean reversion of those who withdrew more. Our results are consistent with the (Ostrom, 2000) hypothesis that, in absence of punishment, disclosure of information about individual (cooperative or non cooperative) behaviour makes common resource management more difficult and tragedy of the commons easier.

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Paper provided by Tor Vergata University, CEIS in its series CEIS Research Paper with number 200.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 30 Jun 2011
Date of revision: 30 Jun 2011
Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:200

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Postal: CEIS - Centre for Economic and International Studies - Faculty of Economics - University of Rome "Tor Vergata" - Via Columbia, 2 00133 Roma
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Keywords: common pool resource game; conformism; information disclosure field experiments; tragedy of commons;

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  1. Bardsley, Nicholas & Sausgruber, Rupert, 2005. "Conformity and reciprocity in public good provision," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 664-681, October.
  2. Timothy N. Cason & Vai-Lam Mui, 1998. "Social Influence in the Sequential Dictator Game," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-37, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  3. Jeffrey Carpenter, 2002. "When In Rome: Conformity and the Provision of Public Goods," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0217, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  4. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2007. "Anonymity, Reciprocity, and Conformity: Evidence from Voluntary Contributions to a National Park in Costa Rica," Working Papers in Economics 245, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  5. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  6. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
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