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

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  • Jan Tore Solstad
  • Kjell Arne Brekke

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Tore Solstad & Kjell Arne Brekke, 2011. "Does the Existence of a Public Good Enhance Cooperation among Users of Common-Pool Resources?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 87(2), pages 335-345.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:87:y:2011:ii:1:p:335-345
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Heintzelman, Martin D. & Salant, Stephen W. & Schott, Stephan, 2009. "Putting free-riding to work: A Partnership Solution to the common-property problem," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 309-320, May.
    2. 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.
    3. Stephan Schott & Neil Buckley & Stuart Mestelman & R. Muller, 2007. "Output sharing in partnerships as a common pool resource management instrument," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 37(4), pages 697-711, August.
    4. 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.
    5. Fudenberg, Drew & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Folk Theorem in Repeated Games with Discounting or with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 533-554, May.
    6. 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 661-661, December.
    7. 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.
    8. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1986. "On the Voluntary and Involuntary Provision of Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 789-793, September.
    9. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
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    11. 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 124-124.
    12. Amartya K. Sen, 1967. "Isolation, Assurance and the Social Rate of Discount," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 112-124.
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    Cited by:

    1. Botelho, Anabela & Dinar, Ariel & Pinto, Lígia M. Costa & Rapoport, Amnon, 2015. "Promoting cooperation in resource dilemmas: Theoretical predictions and experimental evidence," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 40-49.

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    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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