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The transmission of sustainable harvesting norms when agents are conditionally cooperative

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  • Richter, Andries
  • Grasman, Johan

Abstract

Experimental and observational studies have highlighted the importance of agents being conditionally cooperative when facing a social dilemma. We formalize this mechanism in a theoretical model that portrays a small community having joint access to a common pool resource. The diffusion of norms of cooperation takes place via interpersonal relations, while individual agents face the temptation of higher profits by overexploiting the resource. Agents remain conditionally cooperative, unless other individuals are misbehaving already. We can observe a bubble of conditional cooperators slowly building up followed by a sudden burst, which means that a transition from a cooperative social norm to non-cooperation occurs. Interestingly, in some parameter regions alternative stable states and limit cycles arise. The latter implies that the same community goes through such a transition repeatedly over long time spans — history thus repeats itself in the form of the creation and erosion of social capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Richter, Andries & Grasman, Johan, 2013. "The transmission of sustainable harvesting norms when agents are conditionally cooperative," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 202-209.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:93:y:2013:i:c:p:202-209
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.05.013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Anne-Sarah Chiambretto & Hubert Stahn, 2017. "Voluntary Management of Fisheries under an Uncertain Background Legislative Threat," AMSE Working Papers 1712, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France.
    2. Richter, Andries & Dakos, Vasilis, 2015. "Profit fluctuations signal eroding resilience of natural resources," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 12-21.
    3. Håkon Sælen, 2016. "Side-payments: an effective instrument for building climate clubs?," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 16(6), pages 909-932, December.
    4. Lee, Joung Hun & Kakinuma, Kaoru & Okuro, Toshiya & Iwasa, Yoh, 2015. "Coupled social and ecological dynamics of herders in Mongolian rangelands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 208-217.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Common pool resource; Conditional cooperators; Social–ecological complexity; Social capital; Social norms; Community governance;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General

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