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Strategic behavior of experienced subjects in a common pool resource game


  • Claudia Keser

    () (Institut für Statistik und mathematische Wirtschaftstheorie, Universität Karlsruhe, Rechenzentrum, Zirkel 2, D-76128 Karlsruhe, Germany)

  • Roy Gardner

    () (Department of Economics and Workshop in Political Theory, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA)


This paper describes the results of an experiment applying the strategy method to analyze the behavior of subjects in an 8-player common pool resource (CPR) game. The CPR game consists of a constituent game played for 20 periods. The CPR game has a unique optimum and a unique subgame perfect equilibrium; the latter involves overinvestment in the appropriation from the CPR. Sixteen students, all experienced in game theory, were recruited to play the CPR game over the course of 6 weeks. In the first phase of the experiment, they played the CPR game on-line 3 times. In the second phase of the experiment, the tournament phase, they designed strategies which were then played against each other. At the aggregate level, subgame perfect equilibrium organizes the data fairly well. At the individual level, however, fewer than 5% of subjects play in accordance with the game equilibrium prediction.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Keser & Roy Gardner, 1999. "Strategic behavior of experienced subjects in a common pool resource game," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 28(2), pages 241-252.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jogath:v:28:y:1999:i:2:p:241-252
    Note: Received May 1994/Final version August 1996

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