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Appropriating the Commons - A Theoretical Explanation

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  • Armin Falk
  • Ernst Fehr
  • Urs Fischbacher

Abstract

In this paper we show that a simple model of reciprocal preferences explains major experimental regularities of common pool resource (CPR) experiments. The evidence indicates that in standard CPR games without communication and without sanctioning possibilities inefficient excess appropriation is the rule. However, when communication or informal sanctions are available appropriation behavior is more efficient. Our analysis shows that these regularities arise naturally when a fraction of the subjects exhibits reciprocal preferences.

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Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 055.

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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:055

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Keywords: common pool resources; experiments; fairness; reciprocity; game theory; fairness models;

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  1. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs, 2008. "Testing theories of fairness--Intentions matter," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 287-303, January.
  2. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  3. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, George & Riedl, Arno, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-59, May.
  4. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
  5. Ernst Fehr & Simon G�chter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  6. Walker, James M. & Gardner, Roy & Ostrom, Elinor, 1990. "Rent dissipation in a limited-access common-pool resource: Experimental evidence," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 203-211, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Reto Föllmi & Urs Meister, . "Product-Market Competition in the Water Industry: Voluntarily Nondiscriminatory Pricing," IEW - Working Papers 115, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. Maria Alejandra Vélez & John K. Stranlund & James J. Murphy, 2005. "What Motivates Common Pool Resource Users? Experimental Evidence from the Field," Working Papers 2005-4, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Resource Economics.
  3. Klaus Reiner Schenk-Hoppé & Björn Schmalfuss, . "Random Fixed Points in a Stochastic Solow Growth Model," IEW - Working Papers 065, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Aleksander Berentsen & Guillaume Rocheteau, 2004. "Money and Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(4), pages 915-944, October.
  5. Aleksander Berentsen & Guillaume Rocheteau, . "Money and the Gains from Trade," IEW - Working Papers 100, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  6. Gilles, R.P. & Lazarova, E.A. & Ruys, P.H.M., 2008. "Stable Economic Cooperation: A Relational Approach," Discussion Paper 2008-25, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  7. Berentsen, Aleksander & Rocheteau, Guillaume, 2002. "On the efficiency of monetary exchange: how divisibility of money matters," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 1621-1649, November.
  8. Gerlinde Fellner & Magdalena Margreiter & Nuria Oses Eraso, 2003. "When the past is present – The ratchet effect in the local commons," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2003-23, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  9. Dimitrios Diamantaras & Robert P. Gilles, 2010. "Ambiguity, Social Opinion and the Use of Common Property Resources," DETU Working Papers 1006, Department of Economics, Temple University.

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