Information Structure and the Tragedy of the Commons in Resource Extraction
This paper considers the well-known Levhari-Mirman model of resource extraction, and investigates the effects of the information structure of the dynamic game - open-loop, Markovian or history-dependent - on the equilibrium consumption path and the overall utility of the agents. The open-loop regime yields a Pareto-optimal outcome. The Markovian regime leads to the most pronounced version of the tragedy of the commons. History-dependent behavior yields an outcome set that is intermediate between the other two cases. The level of efficiency of equilibrium behaviour is thus U-shaped as a function of the level of information extraction strategies are based on. The analysis suggests that in environments characterized by a dynamic (and no market) externality, forcing agents to commit to open-loop behavior would constitute welfare-improving regulation.
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