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Centralized and Decentralized Management of Local Common Pool Resources in the Developing World: Experimental Evidence from Fishing Communities in Colombia

  • Maria Alejandra Velez

    ()

    (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • James J. Murphy

    ()

    (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • John K. Stranlund

    ()

    (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst)

This paper uses experimental data to test for a complementary relationship between formal regulations imposed on a community to conserve a local natural resource and nonbinding verbal agreements to do the same. Our experiments were conducted in the field in three regions of Colombia. Each group of five subjects played 10 rounds of an open access common pool resource game, and 10 additional rounds under one of five institutions— communication alone, two external regulations that differed by the level of enforcement, and communication combined with each of the two regulations. Our results suggest that the hypothesis of a complementary relationship between communication and external regulation is supported for some combinations of regions and regulations, but cannot be supported in general. We therefore conclude that the determination of whether formal regulations and informal communication are complementary must be made on a community-by-community basis.

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File URL: http://courses.umass.edu/resec/workingpapers/documents/resecworkingpaper2006-3.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Resource Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2006-3.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dre:wpaper:2006-3
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.umass.edu/resec/

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  1. Bischoff, Ivo, 2007. "Institutional choice versus communication in social dilemmas--An experimental approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 20-36, January.
  2. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Cleve Willis & John Stranlund & Juan-Camilo Cardenas, 2002. "Economic inequality and burden-sharing in the provision of local environmental quality," Artefactual Field Experiments 00030, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
  5. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
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