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Appropriating the Commons - A Theoretical Explanation

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  • Falk, Armin
  • Fehr, Ernst
  • Fischbacher, Urs

Abstract

In this Paper we show that a simple model of fairness preferences explains major experimental regularities of common pool resource (CPR) experiments. The evidence indicates that in standard CPR games without communication and without sanctioning possibilities inefficient excess appropriation is the rule. When communication or informal sanctions are available, however, appropriation behaviour is more efficient. Our analysis shows that these regularities arise naturally when a fraction of the subjects exhibits reciprocal preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs, 2001. "Appropriating the Commons - A Theoretical Explanation," CEPR Discussion Papers 2925, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2925
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
    2. Ernst Fehr & Georg Kirchsteiger & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-459.
    3. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs, 2008. "Testing theories of fairness--Intentions matter," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 287-303, January.
    4. Carment, David B., 2000. "The Myth of “Ethnic Conflict†: Politics, Economics, and Cultural Violence. Edited by Beverly Crawford and Ronnie D. Lipschutz. Berkeley: University of California at Berkeley (International Area St," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 94(1), pages 233-234, March.
    5. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
    6. Walker, James M. & Gardner, Roy & Ostrom, Elinor, 1990. "Rent dissipation in a limited-access common-pool resource: Experimental evidence," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 203-211, November.
    7. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aleksander Berentsen & Guillaume Rocheteau, 2003. "Money and the Gains from Trade," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 263-297, February.
    2. Velez, Maria Alejandra & Stranlund, John K. & Murphy, James J., 2009. "What motivates common pool resource users? Experimental evidence from the field," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 485-497, June.
    3. Gerlinde Fellner & Magdalena Margreiter & Nuria Oses Eraso, 2003. "When the past is present – The ratchet effect in the local commons," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2003-23, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    4. Diamantaras, Dimitrios & Gilles, Robert P., 2011. "Ambiguity, social opinion and the use of common property resources," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 210-222.
    5. Aleksander Berentsen & Guillaume Rocheteau, 2004. "Money and Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 915-944.
    6. Berentsen, Aleksander & Rocheteau, Guillaume, 2002. "On the efficiency of monetary exchange: how divisibility of money matters," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 1621-1649, November.
    7. Reto Foellmi & Urs Meister, 2005. "Product-Market Competition in the Water Industry: Voluntary Non-discriminatory Pricing," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 115-135, June.
    8. Schenk-Hoppe, Klaus Reiner & Schmalfu[ss], Bjorn, 2001. "Random fixed points in a stochastic Solow growth model," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 19-30, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    common pool resources; experiments; fairness; fairness models; game theory; reciprocity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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