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Does Scarcity Exacerbate the Tragedy of the Commons? Evidence from Fishers’ Experimental Responses

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  • Maldonado, Jorge Higinio
  • Moreno-Sanchez, Rocio del Pilar

Abstract

Economic Experimental Games (EEGs), focused to analyze dilemmas associated with the use of common pool resources, have shown that individuals make extraction decisions that deviate from the suboptimal Nash equilibrium. However, few studies have analyzed whether these deviations towards the social optimum are affected as the stock of resource changes. Performing EEG with local fishermen, we test the hypothesis that the behavior of participants differs under a situation of abundance versus one of scarcity. Our findings show that under a situation of scarcity, players over-extract a given resource, and thus make decisions above the Nash equilibrium; in doing so, they obtain less profit, mine the others-regarding interest, and exacerbate the tragedy of the commons. This result challenges previous findings from the EEG literature. When individuals face abundance of a given resource, however, they deviate downward from the prediction of individualistic behavior. The phenomenon of private, inefficient overexploitation is corrected when management strategies are introduced into the game, something that underlines the importance of institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Maldonado, Jorge Higinio & Moreno-Sanchez, Rocio del Pilar, 2009. "Does Scarcity Exacerbate the Tragedy of the Commons? Evidence from Fishers’ Experimental Responses," Documentos CEDE Series 91170, Universidad de Los Andes, Economics Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ulaedd:91170
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.91170
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    Cited by:

    1. Bartoš, Vojtěch, 2021. "Seasonal scarcity and sharing norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 303-316.
    2. Adriana Bernal Escobar & Rafael Cuervo & Gonzalo Pinzón Trujillo & Jorge H. Maldonado., 2013. "Derretimiento y Retroceso Glaciar: Entendiendo la Percepción de los Hogares Agrícolas que se Enfrentan a los Desafíos del Cambio Climático," Documentos CEDE 010679, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    3. Bernal-Escobar, Adriana & Cuervo-Sánchez, Rafael & Pinzon-Trujillo, Gonzalo & Maldonado, Jorge Higinio, 2013. "Glacier Melting and Retreat: Understanding the Perception of Agricultural Households That Face the Challenges of Climate Change," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 149005, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Bernal-Escobar, Adriana & Cuervo, Rafael & Pinzon, Gonzalo & Higinio, Jorge, 2013. "Derretimiento y Retroceso Glaciar: Entendiendo la Percepción de los Hogares Agrícolas que se Enfrentan a los Desafíos del Cambio Climático," Documentos CEDE Series 161358, Universidad de Los Andes, Economics Department.
    5. Long, Kaisheng & Pijanowski, Bryan C., 2017. "Is there a relationship between water scarcity and water use efficiency in China? A national decadal assessment across spatial scales," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 502-511.
    6. Federico G. Topolansky Barbe & Carol Yongmei Zhang & Magdalena M. Gonzalez Triay & Clemence Mzendah, 2016. "Does the Conventional Paradigm help to Analyze the Competitiveness of an Industry?," International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, vol. 6(9), pages 68-84, September.
    7. Varghese, Shalet Korattukudy & Veettil, Prakashan Chellattan & Speelman, Stijn & Buysse, Jeroen & Van Huylenbroeck, Guido, 2013. "Estimating the causal effect of water scarcity on the groundwater use efficiency of rice farming in South India," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 55-64.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Community/Rural/Urban Development; Environmental Economics and Policy; Institutional and Behavioral Economics; Land Economics/Use; Public Economics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q22 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Fishery
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games

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