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The challenge of understanding decisions in experimental studies of common pool resource governance

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  • Anderies, John M.
  • Janssen, Marco A.
  • Bousquet, François
  • Cardenas, Juan-Camilo
  • Castillo, Daniel
  • Lopez, Maria-Claudio
  • Tobias, Robert
  • Vollan, Björn
  • Wutich, Amber

Abstract

Common pool resource experiments in the laboratory and the field have provided insights that have contrasted to those derived from conventional non-cooperative game theory. Contrary to predictions from non-cooperative game theory, participants are sometimes willing to restrain voluntarily from over extracting resources and use costly punishment to sanction other participants. Something as simple as face-to-face communication has been shown to increase average earnings significantly. In the next generation of experiments, both in the laboratory and in the field, we need to extract more information that provides insight concerning why people make the decisions they make. More information is needed concerning attributes of individuals as well as the social and social-ecological context in which they interact that may give rise to such deviations from theoretical predictions. In the process of extracting more information from participants and the contexts in which they interact, we face several methodological and ethical challenges which we address in this paper.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:9:p:1571-1579
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    1. de Melo, Gioia & Piaggio, Matías, 2015. "The perils of peer punishment: Evidence from a common pool resource framed field experiment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 376-393.
    2. Esther Blanco & Maria Claudia Lopez & James M. Walker, 2013. "Tensions Between the Resource Damage and the Private Benefits of Appropriation in the Commons," Working Papers 2013-02, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    3. Röttgers, Dirk, 2016. "Conditional cooperation, context and why strong rules work — A Namibian common-pool resource experiment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 21-31.
    4. Anderies, John M. & Janssen, Marco A. & Lee, Allen & Wasserman, Hannah, 2013. "Environmental variability and collective action: Experimental insights from an irrigation game," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 166-176.
    5. Siegwart Lindenberg, 2014. "Sustainable cooperation needs tinkering with both rules and social motivation," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 71-81, April.
    6. d'Adda, Giovanna, 2011. "Motivation crowding in environmental protection: Evidence from an artefactual field experiment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 2083-2097, September.
    7. Travers, Henry & Clements, Tom & Keane, Aidan & Milner-Gulland, E.J., 2011. "Incentives for cooperation: The effects of institutional controls on common pool resource extraction in Cambodia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 151-161.
    8. Lindahl, Therese & Bodin, Örjan & Tengö, Maria, 2015. "Governing complex commons — The role of communication for experimental learning and coordinated management," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 111-120.
    9. Daniel A. DeCaro & Marco A. Janssen & Allen Lee, 2015. "Synergistic effects of voting and enforcement on internalized motivation to cooperate in a resource dilemma," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 10(6), pages 511-537, November.
    10. Saldarriaga-Isaza, Adrián & Villegas-Palacio, Clara & Arango, Santiago, 2013. "The public good dilemma of a non-renewable common resource: A look at the facts of artisanal gold mining," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 224-232.
    11. Ganga Shreedhar, Alessandro Tavoni, Carmen Marchiori, 2018. "Monitoring and punishment networks in a common-pool resource dilemma: experimental evidence," GRI Working Papers 292, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    12. Blanco, Esther & Lopez, Maria Claudia & Villamayor-Tomas, Sergio, 2015. "Exogenous degradation in the commons: Field experimental evidence," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 430-439.
    13. Vogt, Nora & Reeson, Andrew F. & Bizer, Kilian, 2013. "Communication, competition and social gift exchange in an auction for public good provision," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 11-19.
    14. Levine, Jordan & Chan, Kai M.A. & Satterfield, Terre, 2015. "From rational actor to efficient complexity manager: Exorcising the ghost of Homo economicus with a unified synthesis of cognition research," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 22-32.
    15. Saldarriaga-Isaza, Adrián & Arango, Santiago & Villegas-Palacio, Clara, 2015. "A behavioral model of collective action in artisanal and small-scale gold mining," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 98-109.
    16. Speelman, E.N. & García-Barrios, L.E. & Groot, J.C.J. & Tittonell, P., 2014. "Gaming for smallholder participation in the design of more sustainable agricultural landscapes," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 62-75.
    17. Blanco, Esther & Haller, Tobias & Lopez, Maria Claudia & Walker, James M., 2016. "The tension between private benefits and degradation externalities from appropriation in the commons," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 136-147.
    18. Carina Cavalcanti & Andreas Leibbrandt, 2017. "A glance into the willingness to reduce overfishing: Field evidence from a fishnet exchange program," Monash Economics Working Papers 09-17, Monash University, Department of Economics.

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