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Risk, Networks, and Ecological Explanations for the Emergence of Cooperation in Commons Governance


  • Adam Douglas Henry

    () (University of Arizona)

  • Bjoern Vollan

    () (Universitaet Innsbruck)


The commons literature increasingly recognizes the importance of contextual factors in driving collaboration in governance systems. Of particular interest are the ways in which the attributes of a resource system influence the dynamics of cooperation. While this may occur through many pathways, we investigate the mechanisms by which ecological factors influence both the risk of cooperation as well as the density of networks in which strategic interactions take place. Both of these factors influence the co-evolutionary dynamics of network structure and cooperative behavior. These dynamics are investigated through agent-based simulations, which provide preliminary evidence that: 1) low-density networks support higher levels of cooperation, even in high-risk Prisoner's Dilemma scenarios; and 2) in high-risk scenarios, networks that develop higher levels of clustering generally enjoy higher societal gains.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam Douglas Henry & Bjoern Vollan, 2012. "Risk, Networks, and Ecological Explanations for the Emergence of Cooperation in Commons Governance," Rationality, Markets and Morals, Frankfurt School Verlag, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, vol. 3(59), October.
  • Handle: RePEc:rmm:journl:v:3:y:2012:i:59

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Andreas Flache & Rainer Hegselmann, 1998. "Understanding Complex Social Dynamics: a Plea for Cellular Automata Based Modelling," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 1(3), pages 1-1.
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