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Breaking the elected rules in a field experiment on forestry resources

  • Janssen, Marco A.
  • Bousquet, François
  • Cardenas, Juan-Camilo
  • Castillo, Daniel
  • Worrapimphong, Kobchai

Harvesting from common resources has been studied through experimental work in the laboratory and in the field. In this paper we report on a dynamic commons experiment, representing a forest, performed with different types of communities of resource users in Thailand and Colombia, as well as student participants. We find that all groups overharvest the resource in the first part of the experiment and that there is no statistical difference between the various types of groups. In the second part of the experiment, participants appropriate the common resource after one of three possible regulations is elected and implemented. There is less overharvesting after the rules are implemented, but there is a significant amount of rule breaking. The surprising finding is that Colombian villagers break the rules of the games more often than other groups, and even more so when they have more trust in members of the community. This observation can be explained by the distrust in externally proposed regulations due to the institutional and cultural context.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 90 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 132-139

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:90:y:2013:i:c:p:132-139
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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  1. Carlos Rodríguez-Sickert & Ricardo Andrés Guzmán & Juan Camilo Cárdenas, 2006. "Institutions Influence Preferences: Evidence From A Common Pool Resource Experiment," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 002890, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Prediger, Sebastian & Vollan, Björn & Frölich, Markus, 2011. "The impact of culture and ecology on cooperation in a common-pool resource experiment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(9), pages 1599-1608, July.
  5. Janssen, Marco A. & Bousquet, François & Cardenas, Juan-Camilo & Castillo, Daniel & Worrapimphong, Kobchai, 2012. "Field experiments on irrigation dilemmas," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 65-75.
  6. Cardenas, Juan Camilo & Stranlund, John & Willis, Cleve, 2000. "Local Environmental Control and Institutional Crowding-Out," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 1719-1733, October.
  7. Juan Cardenas, 2011. "Social Norms and Behavior in the Local Commons as Seen Through the Lens of Field Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 451-485, March.
  8. Nuria Osés-Eraso & Frederic Udina & Montserrat Viladrich-Grau, 2008. "Environmental versus Human-Induced Scarcity in the Commons: Do They Trigger the Same Response?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 40(4), pages 529-550, August.
  9. repec:feb:framed:0089 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Vollan, Bjørn, 2008. "Socio-ecological explanations for crowding-out effects from economic field experiments in southern Africa," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(4), pages 560-573, November.
  11. Edella Schlager & William Blomquist & Shui Yan Tang, 1994. "Mobile Flows, Storage, and Self-Organized Institutions for Governing Common-Pool Resources," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 70(3), pages 294-317.
  12. Andreas Kontoleon & Erwin Bulte & John List & Maarten Voors & Ty Turley, 2012. "Exploring whether behavior in context-free experiments is predictive of behavior in the field: Evidence from lab and field experiments in rural sierra leone," Framed Field Experiments 00132, The Field Experiments Website.
  13. Cardenas, Juan-Camilo, 2004. "Norms from outside and from inside: an experimental analysis on the governance of local ecosystems," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3-4), pages 229-241, June.
  14. Herr, Andrew & Gardner, Roy & Walker, James M., 1997. "An Experimental Study of Time-Independent and Time-Dependent Externalities in the Commons," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 77-96, April.
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