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The subgroup problem: When can binding voting on extractions from a common pool resource overcome the tragedy of the commons?

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  • Bernard, Mark
  • Dreber, Anna
  • Strimling, Pontus
  • Eriksson, Kimmo

Abstract

Using a common pool resource game protocol with voting we examine experimentally how cooperation varies with the level at which (binding) votes are aggregated. Our results are broadly in line with theoretical predictions. When players can vote on the behavior of the whole group or when leaders from each group can vote for the group as a whole, extraction levels from the common resource pool are close to the social optimum. When players extract resources individually, there is substantial overextraction. When players vote in subgroups, there is initially less overextraction but it increases over time. This suggests that in order for binding voting to overcome the tragedy of the commons in social dilemmas, it should ideally affect the group as a whole.

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  • Bernard, Mark & Dreber, Anna & Strimling, Pontus & Eriksson, Kimmo, 2013. "The subgroup problem: When can binding voting on extractions from a common pool resource overcome the tragedy of the commons?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 122-130.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:91:y:2013:i:c:p:122-130
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.04.009
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    4. Kölle, Felix, 2020. "Governance and Group Conflict," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224515, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Dannenberg, Astrid & Gallier, Carlo, 2019. "The choice of institutions to solve cooperation problems: A survey of experimental research," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-021, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    6. Gallier, Carlo & Langbein, Jörg & Vance, Colin, 2018. "Non-binding Restrictions, Cooperation, and Coral Reef Protection: Experimental Evidence from Indonesian Fishing Communities," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 62-71.
    7. Astrid Dannenberg & Carlo Gallier, 2019. "The Choice of Institutions to Solve Cooperation Problems: A Survey of Experimental Research," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201911, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    8. Reinhard Uehleke & Bodo Sturm, 2017. "The Influence of Collective Action on the Demand for Voluntary Climate Change Mitigation in Hypothetical and Real Situations," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 67(3), pages 429-454, July.
    9. Raphael Boleslavsky & Bruce Carlin & Christopher Cotton, 2019. "Disincentive Effects of Evaluation," Working Paper 1410, Economics Department, Queen's University.
    10. Safarzynska, Karolina, 2020. "Collective punishment promotes resource conservation if it is not enforced," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C).
    11. Luca Corazzini & Christopher Cotton & Tommaso Reggiani, 2020. "Delegation and coordination with multiple threshold public goods: experimental evidence," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(4), pages 1030-1068, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Common pool resource; Voting; Polycentricity; Subgroups; Cooperation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact

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