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Does the Existence of a Public Good Enhance Cooperation among Users of Common-Pool Resources?

  • Jan Tore Solstad
  • Kjell Arne Brekke

Without resorting to the folk theorem or to altruistic preferences, we demonstrate that the problem of overharvesting among individually rational harvesters in a local commons vanishes if the harvesters share, and voluntarily contribute to, some public good. Formulating the model as a two-stage sequential game, the harvesting of a renewable natural resource takes place at the first stage. The observed harvesting surplus is then used for buying private goods and contributing to public goods at the second stage. In this setting, the model shows that the harvesters share an individual objective of maximizing total harvesting surplus.

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File URL: http://le.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/87/2/335
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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Land Economics.

Volume (Year): 87 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 335-345

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:87:y:2011:ii:1:p:335-345
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://le.uwpress.org/

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  1. Warr, Peter G., 1983. "The private provision of a public good is independent of the distribution of income," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 207-211.
  2. Jeffrey P. Carpenter, 2000. "Negotiation in the Commons: Incorporating Field and Experimental Evidence into a Theory of Local Collective Action," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 156(4), pages 661-, December.
  3. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  4. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1986. "On the Voluntary and Involuntary Provision of Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 789-93, September.
  5. Heintzelman, Martin & Salant, Stephen W. & Schott, Stephan, 2008. "Putting Free-Riding to Work: A Partnership Solution to the Common-Property Problem," MPRA Paper 9804, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Elinor Ostrom & Roy Gardner, 1993. "Coping with Asymmetries in the Commons: Self-Governing Irrigation Systems Can Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 93-112, Fall.
  7. H. Scott Gordon, 1954. "The Economic Theory of a Common-Property Resource: The Fishery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 124.
  8. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Privately provided public goods in a large economy: The limits of altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 57-73, February.
  9. Larson, Bruce A. & Bromley, Daniel W., 1990. "Property rights, externalities, and resource degradation : Locating the tragedy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 235-262, October.
  10. Fudenberg, Drew & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Folk Theorem in Repeated Games with Discounting or with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 533-54, May.
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