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The effect of environmental uncertainty on the tragedy of the commons

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  • Aflaki, Sam

Abstract

We model a common pool resource game under environmental uncertainty, where individuals in a symmetric group face the dilemma of sharing a common resource. Each player chooses a consumption level and obtains a corresponding share of that resource, but if total consumption exceeds a sustainable level then the resource deteriorates and all players are worse-off. We consider the effect of uncertainty about the sustainable resource size on the outcome of this game. Assuming a general dynamic for resource deterioration, we study the effect of increased ambiguity (i.e., uncertain probabilities pertaining to the common resourceʼs sustainable size). We show that whereas increased risk may lead to more selfish behavior (i.e., to more consumption), increased ambiguity may have the opposite effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Aflaki, Sam, 2013. "The effect of environmental uncertainty on the tragedy of the commons," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 240-253.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:82:y:2013:i:c:p:240-253
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2013.07.011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Diekert, Florian K., 2015. "Threatening Thresholds? The effect of disastrous regime shifts on the cooperative and non-cooperative use of environmental goods and services," Memorandum 12/2015, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    2. Ashish R. Hota & Siddharth Garg & Shreyas Sundaram, 2014. "Fragility of the Commons under Prospect-Theoretic Risk Attitudes," Papers 1408.5951, arXiv.org, revised Jun 2016.
    3. Luisito Bertinelli & Amer Tabakovic & Luca Marchiori & Benteng Zou, 2015. "Transboundary Pollution Abatement: The Impact of Unilateral Commitment in Differential Games," CREA Discussion Paper Series 15-02, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    4. Botelho, Anabela & Dinar, Ariel & Pinto, Lígia M. Costa & Rapoport, Amnon, 2015. "Promoting cooperation in resource dilemmas: Theoretical predictions and experimental evidence," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 40-49.
    5. Hota, Ashish R. & Garg, Siddharth & Sundaram, Shreyas, 2016. "Fragility of the commons under prospect-theoretic risk attitudes," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 135-164.
    6. Diekert, Florian K., 2017. "Threatening thresholds? The effect of disastrous regime shifts on the non-cooperative use of environmental goods and services," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 30-49.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    CPR games; Environmental uncertainty; Risk and ambiguity; The tragedy of the commons;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General

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